What is an Autism Certified City (ACC)?

The ACC designation is awarded by IBCCES to communities where key stakeholders, including healthcare, education, local government, hospitality, leisure, and corporate members, are trained and certified to better serve individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders. IBCCES is the only credentialing board working with communities to bring 20 years of industry knowledge and leadership so they become truly inclusive and accessible for all. This designation provides benefits to residents and visitors as the community comes together to ensure there are options for everyone.

Community Stakeholders Work Together


    Hotels, restaurants and other attractions will be more aware of how to better serve individuals and families with children on the autism spectrum, resulting in better customer service, improved guest experience, and ultimately, more visitors. Autistic individuals and their families are looking for options where they can feel welcomed and understood.

    Large corporations as well as smaller organizations in every industry can benefit by learning how to better manage, attract, and retain a neurodiverse workforce. Support and inclusion in hiring is critical to ensure individuals of all abilities can be successful, and also helps organizations be competitive, effective, and profitable by tapping an under-utliized talent pool.

      Teachers and other school personnel such as bus drivers and paraprofessionals will be able to better identify and work with autistic students or those with other cognitive differences. Tutoring organizations, learning centers, early intervention specialists, and others in this field need up to date, multidisciplinary information to help them improve outcome and connect with the community.

    Law enforcement, first responders, parks and recreation staff, public transportation drivers and others will be better equipped to interact with individuals with autism and other sensory disorders in a positive way.

    Physicians, therapists, and other healthcare professionals will be able to improve patient experience and outcomes. Hospitals, Emergency Departments, and clinics can better serve and connect with the community and ensure accurate diagnosis, effective and efficient visits, and better care and experiences for all patients.

    Theaters, family entertainment centers, museums, zoos, aquariums, theme parks, and entertainment venues will be able to better serve guests and help them customize their experience, allowing these organizations to attract and serve more families, as well as increase staff empowerment and morale.

Benefits of Certification

  • Improve quality of life for residents

  • Increase tourism and visitors from an underserved market

  • Increase community engagement

  • Enhanced workforce opportunities

  • Create a distinct inclusive brand, nationally and internationally

Active people in park in a Autism Certified City

Did You Know?

Money infographic
$262 billion is spent on autism-related services in the US each year.

ethnic infographic
ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

1 in 54 kids have asd infographic
1 in 44 children has been identified with autism.

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ASD is at a 600% increase.

* Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

ROI: What’s the Impact?

Group of diverse people in a Autism Certified City
  • 400 FAMILIES on opening day Sesame Place
  • 50% INCREASE in employee morale score Marriott (first month)
  • $200K GRANT for autism improvements Elmwood Park Zoo
  • GUEST SATISFACTION scores up 45% Aquatica (first 3 months)
  • BUSIEST media event of year Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • DOUBLED out-of-region guests Discovery Cove (first 3 months)
  • 32% INCREASE in first-time guests Marriott (first 2 months)
  • 32% INCREASE in first-time guests Marriott (first 2 months)
TRAINING: Industry and position-specific training and certification from clinical experts as well as autistic self-advocates

VALIDATION: The knowledge and readiness of each staff member is validated via independent assessment

VERIFICATION: Onsite facilities audit, if applicable, is performed to provide additional recommendations and process updates to ensure compliance and enhance accommodations

CERTIFICATION: Certification is granted to those who have gone above and beyond to make their organization more accessible for individuals with autism and other special needs

Autism Travel Text Only LogoOnce you become an Autism Certified City, you will be featured as a certified community on AutismTravel.com, which was developed by IBCCES as a credible resource to help autistic individuals and their families and friends connect with trained and certified destinations, attractions, and related options.

“The Autism Certification program has energized our Chamber Members and the overall response has been phenomenal. We have had everyone from very large multinational manufacturing companies to small coffee shops sign up to become certified and support the community Autism initiative.” – Sally Harrison President/CEO Mesa Chamber of Commerce



“The City of Mesa is known as a community with high core values and a huge heart. Not only is the Mesa Autism Initiative the right thing to do for our community but it will also help raise our profile which will help us recruit visitors, new companies and bring new jobs to our residents.” – Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa

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Find Out More About Becoming An Autism Certified City

Fill out the form below to connect with a Certification Advisor for more information