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Issue: September 2023, Living, Inspired with IDD
Sep 01, 2023
Carol Pearson

For kids with autism, car rides can be overstimulating and even downright scary. There may be some relief ahead, thanks to a recent partnership between the Autism Society of America and Chrysler.

For many kids with autism, even the shortest trip in the car is a huge challenge. The stress and anxiety of being in a moving vehicle can make everyday trips to school, shopping or even out for ice cream a struggle. The challenge gets even greater when the family is planning a longer road trip to visit family or take a vacation.  

Now, thanks to a partnership between The Autism Society of America and Chrysler, some relief may be on the way. 

“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 in this press release.  

The partnership is billed as a “long term initiative” designed to meet the needs of families with autistic Loved Ones, offering new technology and amenities in cars, more support for families in the showroom, and community outreach. Their first joint initiative, the Chrysler Calm Cabin, was launched at the 2023 New York International Auto Show.  

“This partnership is about finding meaningful ways for Chrysler to provide support and effect change in the autism community,” explains Chris Feuell, CEO of Chrysler Brand in this video, which also features parents sharing their struggles on the road.  

“Transportation has always been a real roadblock for our community, so this helps open up some new avenues,” explains one mom featured in the video. 

Another mom praised Chrysler for paying attention to the needs of families with autistic children, saying: “This is something families use on a daily basis, so to see that you’re making this product inclusive and adaptable for children such as our son, that’s exactly what you need to be doing.”  

The Calm Cabin features, which are available on 2023 Pacific models, include: 

  • Seat-back organizers with adjustable straps, five front pockets, an 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, a breathing coach and 15 sound therapy modes 
  • Comforting seat belt sleeve with soft-touch velvet feel 
  • Comforting soft-touch travel pillow 
  • Comforting 7-layer, 12-pound weighted sensory blanket 

Not in the market for a new car? All items in the Calm Cabin are also available to buy separately, so families won’t have to trade in their current vehicle to take advantage of these innovations.  

As autism rates continue to climb across our communities, these kinds of partnerships can help brands truly meet the changing needs of their target families. And maybe, just maybe, the next trip in the car can be a little bit better for everyone.  

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