‘Autistic AWARE’ businesses work to help families with autistic kids

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SALT LAKE CITY - A program aims to lighten the load for families with children who are autistic or have sensory disorders by showing their customers that their store is autism aware.

Utah has the highest rate of children diagnosed with autism in the US. The Centers for Disease Control says one in 47 children is diagnosed with the disorder.

The Autism AWARE - Autism is Welcomes, Accepted and Respected Every day - program, established by the Autism Council of Utah, is trying to ease the hassles of everyday outings for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders.

A business becomes Autism AWARE by providing training for its employees and by making an environment that is accommodating to those with autistic children.

Brio is one Autism AWARE establishment because its employees have gone through special training, its decor and atmosphere is not overly stimulating and its menu benefits people with special needs.

"We just want to make sure the kids enjoy eating with us and it's a place where they feel comfortable," said Steve Rose, general manager at Brio.

Families with autistic children came to the Brio Tuscan Grille on Friday to celebrate the restaurant's becoming a certified Autism AWARE business. They say they're thankful for establishments like Brio that help take some weight off their shoulders.

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