Complete An Application
Download, complete and upload the application to the form below.
Note: You must have the current version of Adobe for application to work properly.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. People with autism may also have sensory issues. These sensitivities can include light, sound, smell, touch and other sensations.
Even though there are many individuals diagnosed with autism (more than 3.5 million Americans), families tend to isolate themselves from the community. This is to avoid hurtful reactions or stigma from others. This isolation can lead to many issues, including but not limited to depression. Autism not only affects individuals and families, but also impacts our community. In 2014, Pope Francis called for greater acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders and their families to break down the “isolation” and “stigma” that burdens them. The Pope also stated that to meet their needs and break through their loneliness we need to create a network of support and services on the ground that are comprehensive and accessible. To have true community inclusion, the individual needs to be participating and accepted by the other individuals. It takes time and effort to become part of any community. To be part of any community, individuals have to learn the ways of the community and get used to new people and things. Also, the members of the community will have to learn about and get familiarized with the new member. Community inclusion is not always a fast or easy process, but with appropriate supports and effort, community inclusion is extremely rewarding.
The Autism Friendly Community project is focused on providing a roadmap, tools, training and assistance to local businesses and organizations. The goal is to create an environment of awareness, acceptance and understanding. This is a FREE training provided by the North Dakota Autism Center, Inc.
With more people becoming aware, growth in the community will happen. The North Dakota Autism Center has developed a 2-level system for becoming an Autism Friendly Community Partner.
There are two levels (each level requires certification at the previous level):
Level 1: The business/organization/group, its managers, employees and volunteers have made a commitment to train their staff in autism awareness. They will include AFC training in their orientation of new employees and set up initial training for current staff. In addition, they agree to a yearly renewal/refresher.
Level 2: The business/organization/group has made modifications or changes to their business to improve the environment and access for those with autism. (i.e. calming area, special sensory day, etc.)
Upon completion of Level 1, partners will receive a completion certificate along with an Autism Friendly symbol window cling. This window cling will communicate that the business is an Autism Friendly place They can enter the business and expect to be received and treated just like any other member of our community.
Join the growing movement of businesses in the West Fargo/Fargo area who want to set themselves apart from others by investing in caring and exceptional customer service.
Why become autism friendly? You will…
- Attract new customers
- Increase business
- See a rise in profit
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Provide a rich customer experience
- Enhance your brand and help new customers find you
- Create a positive effect on employees through offering exceptional customer service experiences
- Gain knowledge and confidence to accommodate ALL customers
- Loyal customers
- Promote your business via website, social media, newsletters and media outreach to local news outlets
- Complete autism friendly application and assessment.
- An Autism Friendly Community Representative at the North Dakota Autism Center will review application and assessment. Once reviewed, representative will contact you to set up a follow up phone call or meeting.
- Training is done in person and will provide the necessary tools for your employees to begin offering caring customer service to families with autism and other disabilities.
- Add training to the companies “new employee” orientation training to ensure that business follows minimum requirements of number of employees trained. Note: First training will be done with large group on company site. Businesses have the option of sending new employees to bi-monthly training offered offsite.
- Once certified at Level 1, your business will become visible to the autism community through the North Dakota Autism Center’s website, social media outlets and printed materials.
For more information on how to become a AFC Partner please contact:
- Darcy Kasprowicz, Director of Development and Community Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org