From Hudson Valley News Network
October 20, 2015
By Katy Welsh
Anderson Center for Autism announced that M&T Bank of Dutchess County is set to receive an ‘Autism Supportive Environment Certification of Completion’ after completing a comprehensive training program on October 21, 2015.
Anderson Center for Autism has more than 130 students on its campus and another 105 individuals in their Adult Residential Program, making this an especially significant initiative. Through this partnership, an individualized program has been developed to better equip local M&T Bank employees to understand, serve and support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.
M&T Bank, the third business to obtain this new certification, is a local consumer and commercial bank, with 13 branches in the county, including 6375 Mill Street, which is just north of Anderson Center’s 4885 U.S. 9, Staatsburg campus, or Anderson Village as it’s known.
“We understand that our customers with disabilities may have accessibility needs, and it is important to us that we provide ready access to our products and services so all of our customers can succeed financially,” said Mike Keegan, M&T Bank Regional President. “Our bankers are happy to assist in reading bank documents and filling out forms. We can also communicate by exchanging notes. Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment where all of our customers can conduct their banking without undue burden.”
Anderson Center for Autism trains and certifies businesses in autism awareness and acceptance through its Autism Supportive Environment program. Providing on- and off-site, interactive training and environmental modifications helps businesses to be successful in servicing children and adults on the autism spectrum and their families.
Nancy Osborn, BCBA and Autism Supportive Environment Program Administrator with Anderson Center for Autism, said, “The Autism Supportive Environment program provides us, Anderson Center for Autism, a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise to promote a community culture of acceptance and support for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.”
The Autism Supportive Environment program began in 2011 with long-time community partner, Coppola’s Ristorante in Hyde Park. In April 2015, through Dutchess County’s THINK DIFFERENTLY initiative, up to 25 county businesses will share in the Autism Supportive Environment program. The first two businesses were The United Methodist Church of Hyde Park and National Park Service – Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site. Two other community partners, Poughkidsie and Courtyard by Marriott, are expected to complete the training program and be Autism Supportive Environments by the end of October 2015 as well.
Director of Anderson Foundation for Autism Eliza Bozenski explains “All businesses have an incredible opportunity through Autism Supportive Environment to send a completely positive and welcoming message to their communities while increasing their customer base. We are thrilled to be able to partner with M&T Bank and many others for this program and thank them for their participation! The fact that this is supported by a generous grant from Dutchess County allows for impactful change right now.”