Autism Friendly

Autism Friendly DecalAbout Autism Friendly

Children and adults diagnosed with autism have differences in their verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. These characteristics can make it difficult for an individual on the spectrum to successfully access and navigate the community.

Yet, individuals with autism deserve meaningful opportunities to engage in and contribute to community life alongside their neurotypical peers. The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida (CARD-USF) established the “Autism Friendly” business initiative to address this need. The goal of “Autism Friendly” is to assist businesses in the Tampa Bay region in welcoming and including guests with autism and other developmental disabilities.

CARD consultants work with partnering businesses to create an “Autism Friendly” environment, using best practices. Participation in the “Autism Friendly” program includes:

  • Education and Awareness: enhanced understanding of autism through staff training
  • Technical Assistance: consultation with the business venue about accessibility, sensory considerations, and reasonable accommodations/modifications
  • Resources: creation of visual supports and provision of Distract Pak sensory relief kits
  • Employment: customized support for employees on the spectrum
For more information about “Autism Friendly,” please see the handout “What does it mean to be designated as an Autism Friendly business?”

Implementing “Autism Friendly” strategies at your business will help foster a sense of safety and enjoyment for guests of all abilities. Everyone benefits when everyone belongs!

Ready to get started? Contact: Liz Burke at or call 813-974-6441.

    Autism Friendly FAQ's    Sensory-Friendly Continuum