The Autism Alliance, a program of Advocates, recently announced that it has certified Ipswich Shellfish Co. Inc., one of the nation’s leading seafood processors and distributors, as an Autism Welcoming business.
The company, which has been offering fresh seafood since 1935 and runs a retail fish market in Ipswich, also made a generous donation that will enable the Autism Alliance to provide autism education and training to many of the restaurants Ipswich Shellfish Co. Inc. supplies.
“We are grateful for the generous support from Ipswich Shellfish Company to build a socially inclusive food service industry, and excited at the opportunity it presents to train more restaurants so that they are better equipped to serve individuals with autism and their families,” said Allison Daigle, executive co-director of the Autism Alliance and the mother of an adult son with autism.
With support from the Autism Alliance, local businesses are trained to understand that autism spectrum disorder is characterized by a range of challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. An estimated 1 in 44 children has autism spectrum disorder and the prevalence continues to rise.
“The entire Ipswich Shellfish team proudly supports the Autism Alliance and we thank them for the opportunity to become an Autism Welcoming business. We hope more businesses will join this great cause,” said Chrissi Pappas, owner of the Ipswich Shellfish Group.
To date, more than two dozen businesses across Greater Boston have received the customized training sessions to become Autism Welcoming certified organizations. These sensory-responsive organizations have taken extra steps to create an accepting and inclusive community by educating staff and making simple but impactful accommodations to their locations.
The donation from Ipswich Shellfish Co. Inc. will support the training of numerous restaurants. The Autism Alliance has already trained several restaurants, including Burton’s Grill & Bar in Framingham and Shrewsbury and Red Heat Tavern in Westborough, as well as the Discovery Museum in Acton, Hopkinton Center for the Arts, MetroWest YMCA, New England Aquarium, Topsfield Fair, and the Trustees of Reservations’ Weir River Farm in Hingham.
The benefits for businesses include creating goodwill with the community, increased business from the autism community, support materials, and an “Autism Welcoming” seal of approval to proudly display to customers at their location and on their website. The benefits for families include the ability to visit businesses that were previously challenging to access, increased quality of life, community inclusion and, in some cases, sensory-friendly events.
For more information about becoming an Autism Welcoming business, please contact Allison Daigle.