Complete An Application
Download (Save to desktop), complete and upload the application to the form below. NOTE: Do NOT fill out application from the web browser. You MUST save it to your computer and then fill it out.
Note: You must have the current version of Adobe for application to work properly.
Did you recently visit an Autism Friendly Community Partner location? If yes, please take a quick survey to let us know about your experience.
Click HERE to complete the survey.
Did you know that the word “philanthropy” means “love of humanity”? It originated in ancient Greece from the playwright, Aeschylus. Today, philanthropy means helping to develop and care for human beings. Philanthropy benefits those who receive, but also those who give. A true philanthropist works towards and cares about improving humanity. Your business has an opportunity to become a philanthropist business leader in our community by becoming an Autism Friendly Community Partner. This is a project that the North Dakota Autism Center, Inc. has been working on over the past year. The mission is to create an environment of awareness, acceptance an understanding of autism by providing free training, tools, and assistance to local businesses and organizations.
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 (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.
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.
Level 1: The business/organization/group, its managers, employees and volunteers have made a public commitment to train its 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 has made small modifications/adjustments to their premises to improve access to those with autism in order to better them. (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…
- Become a philanthropist business leader and help make an inclusive community
- Attract loyal customers and provide a rich customer experience
- Increase business and customer satisfaction
- 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
- Provide training and support
- Provide your business with a Autism Friendly window cling and sensory starter kit
- Promote your business via website, social media, newsletters and media outreach to local news outlets
- Future create an app for easy access for the autism community to find AFC partner companies
- Complete autism friendly application and assessment.
- An Autism Friendly Community Representative at the North Dakota Autism Center will review the 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 the 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