‘We have a community’: Prestonsburg sees growth in autism-friendly businesses

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Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:29 PM EST
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Businesses in Prestonsburg are working to piece together a puzzle of inclusion, spreading awareness of autism and sensory processing by tweaking their business models to be more open.

Working with the Eastern Kentucky ASD/SPD Support Group focused on building a community for families with autism and sensory processing diagnoses, four Prestonsburg businesses are now showing their support as advocates for change.

Crider’s Barber Shop, the first autism friendly business in the city, is now joined by Prestonsburg City Hall, Hyden Pediatric Dentistry and Megan Goble Photography- all working to be more inclusive and provide accommodations to give differently-abled clientele a place to feel at home. From the creation of sensory friendly events in the city to the protocols for working with children to make their haircuts and dental visits more inviting.

Group VP Courtney Crider, whose husband owns Crider’s Barber Shop, is a dental hygienist at Hyden Pediatric, which is why she knew the business was a prefect place to add to the list of friendly spots.

“Something that you feel in your heart and you just know that it’s a safe place,” said Crider. “You know that those people want to do everything that they can do.”

She said the growth and support has meant everything to her family and the families in the group as they work to show their children a world where they are welcome in every aspect.

”I can’t believe that this is happening in this area. We were so- like a year ago, we had nothing. And now we have events. We have businesses. We have a community,” she said. “This business is a puzzle piece. Chris’ business is a puzzle piece. There’s so many businesses that are coming together, the events all coming together, it’s going to be a beautiful picture whenever it gets done.”

Crider hopes to see more businesses donning the autism friendly sticker in the days to come.

You can follow the group here.