Tampa Bay businesses get autism-friendly - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay businesses get autism-friendly

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Pebbles the penguin at the Florida Aquarium Pebbles the penguin at the Florida Aquarium

Newly released numbers reveal a shocking surge in children diagnosed with autism. With that in mind there's a new trend to make local businesses "autism friendly."

The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, or C.A.R.D., out of the University of South Florida, is at the forefront of training workers all over the Tampa Bay area to help businesses better understand how to assist parents and their children who are on the spectrum.

It's part of the "Autism Friendly Business Initiative," and the Florida Aquarium was one of the first in the Bay Area to get on board.

"They asked us to come in, we provided training for their staff, they were wonderful," said C.A.R.D.'s Mindy Stevens.

The aquarium even sets aside days especially for children with autism to enjoy the exhibits there.

"For us that means that means so much to know that when we come here we know we're welcome. The staff is trained to help and always ready to help," said Sheri Frickey, whose daughter has autism.

There is a great family event to raise awareness about Autism - the 9th Annual Fiesta by the Bay is this month. WFLA's Gayle Guyardo will be there with her children as the emcee of the event.

Here's a link to the event's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/213972792125909/

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