FRAMINGHAM — Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company has always strived to offer an inclusive and welcoming environment for those visiting its Morton Street taproom. That strategy was recently recognized by the Autism Alliance, which certified Exhibit 'A' as an “Autism Welcoming Business,” according to the brewery's general manager, Kelsey Roth.
“For us, it’s really about making our business as inclusive as we can for everybody,” he said. The Autism Alliance was founded in 1993 as an autism support center. Since 2009, it has been an affiliate of Advocates Inc. of Framingham.
Roth said he attended a virtual seminar with Autism Alliance about becoming an “Autism Welcoming Business,” and thought it was a fantastic idea.
The group provided training through Zoom and then supplied autism care kits that includes earphones, sunglasses, fidget spinners and other items to help those with autism cope if they are having troubles in the brewery.
“The training really helped us show how to make it comfortable for people with autism and their families,” said Roth. “I think one of the most important things is realizing that people with autism absorb the world differently than other people.”
Allison Daigle, co-director of Autism Alliance, said providing education about autism to people is a key to making the program a success.
“The overall goal is to increase the quality of life and to support the social needs of families and those with autism,” Daigle said.
Making a business’ employees comfortable and knowledgeable about dealing with those with autism will help a business and its customers immensely, said Pam McKillop, co-director of the group.
“The point of our training is we want there to be a comfort level for the staff and their managers so when a person comes into their business who has autism, that they have enough information to be able to make them comfortable,” McKillop said.
“It’s about businesses making small, but meaningful changes,” Daigle said.
Exhibit ‘A’ isn’t the first MetroWest business to be certified as an Autism Welcoming Business. Others that have received the designation include Apex Entertainment in Marlborough, Barnes & Noble in Framingham, Burton’s Grill & Bar in Framingham and Shrewsbury, Fitness Together in Ashland, Hidden Beauty Hair Salon in Natick, Knockouts in Framingham, Let’s Bee Kids Play Center in Hudson, the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce in Framingham, Red Heat Tavern in Westborough, the Verve Hotel in Natick and Wegmans in Natick