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Shop Earns First Certified Autism Center Designation

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Aug. 26, 2020—An auto repair shop has officially become the first auto center to earn the certified-autism center designation.

According to a press release, Friendly Auto Centers has earned the designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. Owner Steve Rozansky says him and his wife, along with at least two employees, have children or grandchildren who are on the autism spectrum and found it to be very important to better serve customers with autism or other sensory needs in their shop.

"We know firsthand of the daily struggles families face when a member has autism. We have each had unhappy experiences in public places with our child/grandchild with autism and know firsthand how isolating, frustrating and at times, even frightening it can be to be in a place where people don't or can't help you, where you are singled out as having ‘that kid’ or ‘that adult’, being purposefully ignored, or at the worst, not being able to go somewhere because it's just too hard,” said Rozansky.

“With all this in mind, when the opportunity came up to both educate our entire team as well as serve a very underserved community we jumped on the chance," he continued. "We want families with people with autism to know that they can come here and ‘we get it’. We will accommodate a parent or grandparent with a child who is having difficulty, we will take extra time to speak with a person on a spectrum because we know that his or her questions are valid to them. We understand that the smells and noises we experience may be 1000 times more powerful to someone else, and we accept all the differences. It is both an honor and great responsibility to serve this community and we will work hard to be worthy of the challenge.”

The organization joins 60-plus businesses in and around Mesa, Ariz., as part of a community-wide initiative that started in 2019, initiated by Visit Mesa, which culminated in Mesa being awarded the first Autism Certified City designation from IBCCES in the world. 

Friendly Auto Centers has also been awarded the AAA Top Shop Award from AAA for two consecutive years and is a 2019 Finalist for the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics and has been nominated once again in 2020.

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