Autism Friendly Business Initiative

What is the Autism Friendly Business Initiative (AFBI)?

“Transforming communities one business at a time”

The Autism Friendly Business Initiative (AFBI) is a training program created by Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) to build a community of local businesses dedicated to the inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in all aspects of life.

Because ASD can impact the way an individual communicates and interacts with others, families impacted by ASD often report feeling alienated or unwelcome in public spaces, leaving them searching for ways to integrate themselves into everyday life.

The AFBI is designed to equip your organization – no matter its shape or size – with the tools necessary to better serve the ASD population. It teaches your team techniques to recognize signs of ASD and better communicate with individuals who exhibit those signs. When team members understand how to react, families feel accepted. When families find businesses they can depend on, businesses gain customers for life.

How can my organization get involved as an Autism Friendly Business?

Your decision to get involved with the Autism Friendly Business Initiative will have an irreversible impact on the way your team members perceive ASD and other developmental disorders. FEAT is confident that such an impact will surely cause a ripple effect capable of creating change in the community at large.

The AFBI logo communicates that a particular business is not only accepting, but understanding of those with autism. The business has been provided with education to successfully set up a ‘judgment free’ zone for them and their families. Families, or individuals with ASD, would enter the business and expect to be received and treated as any other member of our community.

  • Autism Friendly Business

    The business, its managers and employees have made a public commitment to train its staff in autism awareness. They will view a short film on autism spectrum disorder and answer 3 questions regarding the film, showing that they watched it and are at this level, aware of recognizing the signs that someone may have autism and how they should respond.

    The path to becoming an Autism Friendly Business begins with a simple autism-sensitivity training session made available to you online at no cost.

    When 80% of your staff completes the 10-minute training, your organization will not only enjoy the privilege of calling itself an Autism Friendly Business, but will also receive several other benefits, including:

    • A window decal for display on location at your business
    • A digital version of the decal for use on your website, social media and other marketing efforts
    • Display of your business information and logo on the AFBI website
    • An official FEAT announcement via social media, our email newsletter and other platforms
    • A commitment by FEAT to promote public investment in your organization to, and for the benefit of, the ASD population

  • Autism Friendly Partner

    The Autism Friendly Partner has deepened their commitment as an Autism Friendly Business by making small modifications/adjustments to their premises to improve access to those with autism in order to better them. They may have a sensory bag on site, or take it a step further and offer sensory-friendly events. Others may even be committed to reviewing hiring strategies and promoting a supportive work environment for individuals with ASD.

    Ready to take it to the next level? Become an Autism Friendly Partner! For a small annual fee, your business will receive:

    • All the benefits available to Autism Friendly Businesses (listed above)
    • A personalized consultation to:
      • Assess and recommend sensory-friendly modifications or accommodations
      • Identify positions within your business that might be a good fit for someone with ASD
    • Extra materials to assist with employee training
    • Two complimentary tickets to FEAT’s annual “Create a Stir About Autism” Gala

  • FEAT of Louisville and the Autism Friendly Community working group focuses on training and supporting businesses to breakdown education and perceptional barriers to welcome and support customers with autism and their families. We provide the opportunity to businesses of any size to receive autism awareness certification and ongoing support. Our approach is simple and straightforward.

    Join the growing number of businesses in Kentuckiana who want to set themselves apart from others by investing in compassionate and exceptional customer service and enriching the economy with a specialized workforce.

    The Benefits

    Attract new customers
    Rise in Profit
    Increased Customer Satisfaction
    Enhance your brand and help new customers find you

    Promotion via website, social media, newsletters and media outreach to local news outlets on your behalf through FEAT of Louisville
    Provide rich customer experience
    Improved reputation
    Generation of referrals and increased business

    Ability to welcome customers with special needs and their families without fear
    Offering exceptional customer service experiences creates a positive effect on employees
    Skills to provide compassionate customer service and provide a positive experience
    Knowledge and confidence to accommodate ALL customers

    The Process

    Contact an Autism Friendly Business Initiative.
    Complete assessment of current business structure.

    The training begins with a short video segment that will provide the necessary tools for your employees to begin offering compassionate customer service to families with disabilities. Together, a time will be scheduled when your employees may view the training material.
    Add AFBI training material to your “new employee” training orientation to ensure that business is in compliance with minimum requirements of number of staff trained.

    Once certified at Level 1, your business will become visible to the autism community and our extensive network of families, first through the FEAT of Louisville website and then through various avenues of print and social media

    For continued support you may contact FEAT of Louisville for additional questions and resources.
    We can assist you as your company moves through the remaining levels of the Autism Friendly Business Initiative which will continue to propel your company within our community.

    Let’s Begin

    To receive the ranking of becoming an Autism Friendly Business, the following criteria must be met:

    • Business will agree that all upper level management submits to the same training as employees. This enables management to create compassionate and exceptional customer service from the top down
    • 80% of employees who personally deal with customers must be trained
    • Training for level 1 will include access to a 10-minute online video with a required, brief, assessment to ensure that the video was viewed and understood
    • Certified business will keep available “feedback questionnaire cards”, provided by the Autism Friendly Business Initiative, for all customers to complete as requested
    • For business with multiple locations, 80% of employees from each location must be trained via the online videos in order for each location to receive certification

    Annual Re-certification

    The Autism Friendly Business Initiative requires that re-certification be completed on an annual basis (this pertains to level 1 particularly) and on a date specified by your AFBI Representative. Because we believe that empowerment comes through knowledge, we want to keep you abreast of new material or modifications that will enable even your newest employees to provide compassionate customer service**.

    **Because level 1 is online training, as new employees join your business, you can request access to the online training as part of your own new employee training.

    Training for the business can begin as soon as an agreed upon date is set and all paperwork is signed.

    The relationship may be terminated if and when any of the following conditions occur:
    Training falls below 80% or
    After 3 warnings* (at level 1)
    *If Business receives 3 or more complaints from the customer feedback cards, a meeting with an AFBI Representative will be requested to discuss a reasonable remediation plan. If the plan is not successfully met within 60 days, certification may be revoked.

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