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In the fall of 2021, Autism Foundation Finland launched the Autism Friendly Certificate, which aims to make services more accessible to people in the autism spectrum. As the first partner in the project, the art museum Amos Rex will experiment how to make an art experience more autism friendly.
In September 2021, a new Autism-Friendly Certificate was launched for companies to make services more accessible to people in the autism spectrum. Miltton was commissioned to consult on the operating principles and communications of the certificate program, as well as design a visual identifier and social media marketing materials for the certificate. Earlier in the spring of 2021, we prepared a communication plan and social media strategy for the Autism Foundation, helped renew their website, and designed a brochure and handbook for Autism Foundation employees. The launch of the certificate went smoothly as a continuation of our previous collaboration.
Helsinki-based art museum Amos Rex compiled autism-friendly visiting instructions to support the museum visit. The instructions are available in advance on the museum’s website and aim to open each stage of the visit as accurately as possible. In addition to art presentations, preview material and content notes, museum staff are trained to meet customers with the most sensitive approach.
Many public and commercial spaces in our society are designed to be stressful if you are in the autism spectrum. However, the autism spectrum encompasses a wide and diverse range of people, and not everyone’s needs are the same. For some, strong sensory stimuli – noise, bright or flickering lights, strong smells – or even small talk may seem heavy, for others a lack of prior knowledge.
Taking accessibility into a consideration is in everyone’s interest, and autism-friendly services can also benefit people who are not in the autism spectrum, such as those with memory problems. Besides, going to an art museum for the first time can make anyone nervous.
The first step on the road to a more equal and autism-friendly society is to raise awareness. All communication materials we designed had to be clear and accessible. The visual identity of the Autism-Friendly Certificate – the logo, the images and colors – was designed with clarity and communication at the center. As the first certified partner, Amos Rex adopted the easy-to-communicate core messages designed in the Autism Friendly campaign.
The next step towards achieving equality would be to identify and celebrate the potential of marginalized groups. People in the autism spectrum have enormous potential that is easily overlooked by society. However, ignoring this latent subtlety would enrich everyone’s lives.
We are still far from living in an equal world, but small steps have been taken. The launch of the certificate immediately sparked enthusiastic discussion and commentary and even shed tears. Autism Foundation Finland hopes that actors involved in people’s daily lives, such as shops and malls, cinemas, barbers and beauticians, will now apply for the certificate. Accessibility is the basic precondition of modern society, and companies could gain a large number of new, satisfied customers with small modifications.