The Henry Ford and Autism Alliance of Michigan Form Partnership to Support Families with Autism

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Families affected by Autism connect and enjoy A Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine®.

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The Henry Ford and the Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAOM) are announcing a unique partnership offering a welcoming environment to families with autism. This partnership was created as an opportunity for families to enjoy time at a unique and widely recognized cultural destination that has put the necessary accommodations in place to support their loved ones.

“The Autism Alliance of Michigan is proud to be partnering with The Henry Ford to give families living with autism the same experiences as those enjoyed by others,” said Colleen Allen, president and CEO of AAOM. “The MI Autism Safety Training (MAST) program offered by AAOM is intended to create safe, welcoming environments for persons with autism within our community. We are very excited that The Henry Ford was able to launch this important program with us.”

Accommodations currently being put in place include a link to pre-visit information on The Henry Ford’s website that describes environments and sensorial experiences to families, provides varied dietary options, areas for noise reduction and other hospitality services. In addition, AAOM will provide supplemental support as well as training in basic aspects of autism for Henry Ford staff members.

To kick off this partnership, The Henry Ford and AAOM will be hosting an event during A Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine® in Greenfield Village. On Sunday, April 28, 2013, families with autism are invited to attend and connect with other families, take a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine®, and enjoy the activities Greenfield Village has to offer. Tickets to this event go on sale Wednesday, March 13. For more information including discounts, please visit http://www.thehenryford.org.

About The Henry Ford:
The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s premiere history destination and a National Historic Landmark that celebrates American history and innovation. Its mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. Its purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future. Five distinct attractions at The Henry Ford captivate more than 1.6 million visitors annually: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution’s campus and was founded in partnership with The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Wayne County Public Schools. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org.

About AAOM section.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. There are currently 1:88 babies born with autism, with over 50,000 individuals in Michigan, and approximately 16,000 children. The Autism Alliance of Michigan is a state-based agency working to improve lives of families with autism across our state, and all funds raised by AAOM stay in Michigan to benefit Michigan families. AAOM has taken a lead role in the implementation of the new autism insurance benefit and is currently developing an autism navigator program. The Michigan Autism Safety Program has been a primary initiative of AAOM over the past year, with over 5,000 trained in autism safety statewide. This includes law enforcement, emergency responders, educators, transportation, medical facilities, community members, and families. When we look at autism from a community perspective, and the more individuals that can recognize it and understand some basic communication techniques and safety procedures, a potentially serious situation may be diffused and lead to more positive outcomes for the individual. We also see opportunities to train and support local businesses that interface extensively with the public to better understand autism, and how to best offer options for families with autism so that it is a more enjoyable experience for the entire family.
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Stacie Rulison, stacie.rulison@aaomi.org

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