Regions Bank, which serves 15 mostly Southern states in the U.S., has joined the growing number of businesses offering autism-friendly services and programs. The Alabama-based financial institution is promoting autism awareness and adopting autism friendliness by implementing accommodations for autistic individuals within each bank branch. They’ve also focused on training staff to recognize autism, react to situations appropriately, and communicate with autistic individuals.
Regions partnered with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Autism Society of Alabama to develop and launch this initiative. In addition to designated quiet areas in all branches, the banks have “sensory packs” that contain noise-cancelling earbuds, sunglasses and a stress ball, to help reduce the stress of noise, light and other environmental factors. Regions contracted with Workshops, Inc.—a non-profit whose employees have developmental disabilities—to put together the kits.
Future plans may go further than just autism awareness, by focusing on helping autistic adults as customers—not just as companions to customers. As this image from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network shows, there are actions that Regions can implement that will help autistic adult with their financial needs.
Kathy Lovell, the ADA manager at Regions, continues to meet with autism support groups and service organizations within the bank’s branch communities, and has plans for the future.
“Just because an individual has a disability does not mean that they don’t have earned income and want to make wise investments,” she said. “I really feel like this supports two of Regions’ core values: doing what is right and making life better.”
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