The first theme park resort to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) is LEGOLAND Florida Resort. The LEGOLAND Theme Park, LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGOLAND Hotel, LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat, and Peppa Pig Theme Park, which opened in February just steps away from LEGOLAND, are all part of this Resort-wide CAC designation. The CAC certification is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that complete guest-facing staff training and certification, as well as other requirements such as providing accommodations for visitors with cognitive differences.
IBCCES conducted an onsite review for autistic visitors and their families to provide additional recommendations and options. The IBCCES also recommended sensory guides to help guests understand and plan for the sensory impacts of each ride or attraction. The IBCCES training program covers topics such as understanding autism, communication strategies, and best practices for enhancing the onsite experience. The training program includes input from industry experts as well as perspectives from autistic people. To maintain certification, the certification requires ongoing continuous learning, IBCCES support, and periodic renewal requirements.
“We are proud that LEGOLAND Florida Resort has partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to earn our designation as a Certified Autism Center™ across LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, Water Park, three on-site hotels, and the all-new Peppa Pig Theme Park,” said Kelly Hornick, Head of Marketing & Communications for LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Peppa Pig Theme Park. “We are passionate about being the Resort for families to build awesome vacation memories, and we are thankful to our partners at IBCCES for helping us be more welcoming and more inclusive to more families, including those with sensory needs.”
Due to a lack of staff training and understanding, the potential for sensory overload, and the need for flexible options or accommodations, many autistic people and those with sensory sensitivities may find it difficult to visit new places or plan family trips. IBCCES created training and certification programs for attractions, hotels, zoos, aquariums, and other recreational locations in response to this need, ensuring that all families and individuals can create memories and have fun.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort will provide the following services as Certified Autism Centers:
- Front-line team members who have been trained and are equipped to better assist autistic guests and those with other sensory sensitivities, allowing them to enjoy their stay at the resort.
- A sensory guide for each attraction that explains how each of the five senses affects the attraction or ride, making it easier for individuals and families to plan activities that fit their needs and accommodations.
- Low sensory areas for guests with sensory sensitivities to relax in a less stimulating environment
- An updated Accessibility Guide will be available at www.legoland.com/florida/ and Guest Relations areas.
“IBCCES is thrilled to partner with LEGOLAND Florida Resort to help them enhance the guest experience in this unique setting that provides a comprehensive experience for families to stay and play together,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Their commitment to ongoing training and accessibility enhancements helps ensure there are more options for families to make memories together that we all cherish.”
IBCCES has been a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the world for more than 20 years. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization that offers this type of certification, which includes evidence-based training as well as autistic perspectives, as well as other tools and resources like onsite reviews and customized recommendations, as well as renewal requirements to ensure that the program is a long-term commitment with a lasting impact.
AutismTravel.com along with IBCCES have developed, a free online resource for parents that includes a list of certified destinations as well as links to other resources and other families. The Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements have been met by all of the destinations listed on the site.
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