For people with autism and sensory processing disorder, visiting theme parks and other travel destinations can be overwhelming. The unfamiliar environment, sights, sounds, and smells of a busy location can be difficult to manage. That's why some destinations are committing to meeting several standards that make accessing their services easier for people with autism.
Recently, Sea World's Aquatica Orlando park became a Certified Autism Center. The certification is through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The IBCCES offers numerous certifications for individuals, organizations, and even law enforcement professionals. For organizations, the industries served range from healthcare facilities to education and childcare centers, to corporate entities like Sea World.
What Does it Take to Get Certified?
Sea World received its certification as an autism center in early January 2019, making it the first water park in the world to receive such a designation. The certification process requires that, at a minimum, 80% of staff is certified through autism training courses, and that the facility continues to meet updated standards. Training focuses on ensuring that employees are knowledgeable about sensory concerns, communication, motor development, and other subjects pertinent to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Staff certifications last for two years, so regular training programs are necessary for staff to stay up-to-date. Certified Autism Centers must be committed to providing excellent service to people with autism, and must meet HIPAA and ADA requirements.
How Can Caregivers and People on the Spectrum Benefit?
Interacting with staff who are trained to be observant and understanding of the challenges a person with ASD might face provides refreshing peace of mind for visitors. Employees can provide immediate assistance and answer questions in person, although Sea World will also have detailed information online to help visitors plan their day according to specific sensory needs. Quiet rooms will be available for guests to utilize, each equipped with comfortable seats and adjustable lighting.
For more news about special education, certifications, and other related topics, visit the Behavioral Health sections of our blog.
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