In The Politics of Autism, I write about the everyday struggles facing autistic people and their families.
Chrysler and the Autism Society of America will announce a new long-term partnership initiative that supports the driving needs of individuals with autism and their loved ones, including through the creation of a new Calm Cabin package that can transform any Chrysler Pacifica into a sensory-supported mobile experience.
On April 5 at the 2023 New York International Auto Show, Chrysler will announce its partnership with the Autism Society, the oldest and largest grassroots autism organization in the country. The announcement coincides with April's Autism Acceptance Month, as well as the Autism Society's fifth annual Celebrate Differences campaign.
Chrysler Pacifica has always served the needs of families with the brand's purpose of providing calm and bringing harmony to the lives of owners. Chrysler is reinforcing its commitment to providing real solutions for even more families in need. Through its new partnership, the Chrysler brand and the Autism Society will work to make travel more comfortable for all through thoughtful design, support accommodations, educational resources and local community engagement.
In addition, throughout the month of April, Chrysler will use its platforms to encourage followers of the brand on social media to make donations, spread awareness for early diagnosis of autism, promote inclusion in the greater community and practice acceptance in everyday life. Donations to the Autism Society can be made at AutismSociety.org/donate.
Chrysler brand will also provide a courtesy one-year loan of three 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle vehicles for use by the Autism Society.
"At Chrysler, we believe it's no longer enough to be 'aware' of the millions of people living and thriving with autism, we must put acceptance into action," said Chris Feuell, Chrysler brand chief executive officer – Stellantis. "We're proud to offer life-enriching opportunities for individuals with autism and their families with initiatives, such as our new Calm Cabin package, that bring a little harmony to people's lives, whether they are on a long road trip or running a quick errand."
The Autism Society will help advise the development of Chrysler products and assist with organization-wide inclusion training to build better experiences for the autism community interacting with dealers across the country.
"The Autism Society of America is proud to partner with Chrysler to create an improved and inclusive driving experience for the autism community," said Christopher Banks, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America. "With a trusted partner like Chrysler, our work is amplified as we collaborate to instill inclusive workplace practices, product accommodations and create more opportunities for the autism community to live fully."
Chrysler Calm Cabin Package
A 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Limited on display at the New York International Auto Show, featuring branded Autism Society vehicle graphics, will also serve as a showcase for the brand's new Calm Cabin package, which helps those with autism feel calm, safe and comfortable.
Available in late spring through Chrysler's online merchandise retail store, the Chrysler-branded package includes:
- Seat-back organizer with adjustable straps, five front pockets, interior clear pocket that holds a tablet computer and a black mesh pocket
- Rechargeable, cordless Bluetooth meditative light and sound therapy machine that fits in the center pocket of the seat-back organizer with five LED color modes, four light therapy modes, breathing coach and 15 sound therapy modes
- Comforting seat belt sleeve with soft-touch velvet feel
- Comforting soft-touch travel pillow
- Comforting, seven-layer, 12-pound weighted sensory blanket
Items available as part of the Calm Cabin package will also be available for purchase separately.
As part of the brand's long-term partnership with the Autism Society, Chrysler will work to identify additional areas where the brand can support and affect meaningful change in the autism community. In collaboration with its U.S. dealer network, Chrysler will work to roll out dealer-network staff training designed to familiarize dealership employees with the unique needs of individuals and families in the autism community.
The Chrysler brand's new initiative with the Autism Society was developed in partnership with Doner, the brand's creative agency.
Autism and Autos
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with one in 36 children receiving a diagnosis, according to the newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to the 5.8 million autistic adults in the U.S., autism likely touches a vast majority of Americans either through relationships or direct experience, and the support needs across the autism spectrum are vastly different.
One of the spaces requiring the most support is on the road. Vehicles can be stressful, scary experiences for those with autism due to an environment that can be overstimulating and uncomfortable. For some, it means every road trip to school, practice, work or on daily errands becomes a difficult, challenging experience.