Press Release

January 5, 2021

The Henry Ford Receives Seal of Approval from Autism of Alliance of Michigan (AAoM)

Institution recently received IMLS grant funding to support new sensory friendly programming and training

(Dearborn, Mich. – Jan. 5, 2021) – The Henry Ford is proud to announce today that the institution has received the Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAoM) Seal of Approval. The endorsement is given by AAoM to businesses and organizations in Michigan who demonstrate a conscious effort to accommodate and include individuals with autism in community activities that all families enjoy.

“Making The Henry Ford a safe, unique and engaging experience for everyone, including our members and guests on the autism spectrum, along with their families, is something we have been working toward for nearly 20 years,” said Patricia Mooradian, president & CEO, The Henry Ford. “We are honored to have received this endorsement from our friends at AAoM and value their partnership and assistance in making our institution accessible to all.”

For the past several years, AAoM has been working closely with the staff at The Henry Ford to create a safe and autism-friendly environment at all its facilities. This includes hosting routine all-staff safety training, preparing a social narrative and sensory map to help families prepare for their visit, and undergoing a safety and sensory audit walk-through with a member of AAoM’s programmatic staff.

“The Henry Ford joins a respected group of Michigan organizations that strive to create safe and friendly environments for all children with autism and their families,” said AAoM President & CEO Colleen Allen.

Recently, The Henry Ford was awarded a grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) to expand its current Sensory Friendly public programming and create new programs that enable guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder (ASD/SPD) to better access the institution’s collections, daily programs and special events. This grant focuses on the need for informal education for young people with ASD in Michigan and how the museum setting can uniquely fill those needs.

In an effort to make the visits of its guests and members on the autism spectrum more welcoming and educational, The Henry Ford is currently developing new training for staff members in partnership with AAoM, through the IMLS grant funding. This training, combined with yearly safety training from AAoM, will be designed to broaden awareness and develop programmatic and service skills around the unique needs of those with ASD/SPD.

This grant will also enable The Henry Ford to significantly expand current programming for guests with ASD/ SPD, called Sensory Friendly, to provide access to more than 18,000 guests with ASD/SPD and their families within the funding period of three years.  To do this, The Henry Ford will increase Sensory Friendly events to 13-15 per year, including more access and accommodations for our special annual events.  Initiatives will also include a new program for teens and young adults with ASD/SPD that will include activities aimed at social skill-building and educational engagement.  Programming centered around daily visits and special events will not only include the successful access and accommodations THF has provided in the past, but free admission as well, removing any unique economic and/or social barriers.

Due to the pandemic, onsite Sensory Friendly opportunities are currently limited at The Henry Ford. For updates on virtual opportunities and onsite events in 2021, continue to follow @thehenryford social channels and 

About Autism Alliance of Michigan
Guided by the vision that people with autism will lead lives that meet their greatest potential, the mission of AAoM is to lead efforts to raise expectations and expand opportunities for people touched by autism across the lifespan. For information on events, resources and donations, or for more information on the Seal of Approval program, please visit

About The Henry Ford
Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford, a globally recognized destination, fosters inspiration and learning from hands-on encounters with artifacts that represent the most comprehensive collection anywhere focusing on innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness in America. Its unique venues include Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center and Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school. Together with its online presence at, its national television series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Invention Convention Worldwide, the growing affiliation of organizations fostering innovation, invention and entrepreneurship in K-12 students, The Henry Ford inspires individuals to unlock their potential and help shape a better future.

For More Information:
Melissa Foster, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, 313-982-6126