Dolphin Discovery is the latest attraction to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC) to help ensure guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience. Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find vacationing to be a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns.
Dolphin Discovery’s Dolphin Cove in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, recently implemented a training and certification program provided by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children with special needs have limited travel options and created programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.
“Dolphin Cove Jamaica is proud and honored to be the Jamaica attraction industry’s leader in being a Certified Autism Center. Families can be confident in booking their holiday and that their dream to ‘swim with the dolphins’ is now a reality. Be assured that our staff are trained to meet the needs of your family. We welcome families and individuals on the autism spectrum to our parks,” said Alejandro Raygoza, Subdirector of Caribbean Operations for Dolphin Discovery.
While research shows that travel and new experiences are some of the most intellectually stimulating events for individuals on the spectrum, there are still few trained and certified options for parents looking for destinations and attractions able to accommodate their needs. Organizations like IBCCES and Dolphin Discovery are working to change that.
“We’re excited to partner with such a special organization that is truly committing to serving those on the spectrum. We want all families and individuals to have peace of mind when planning trips and new experiences and ultimately for everyone to have an amazing experience, no matter what their needs are,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Our Certified Autism Center designation is awarded to premier organizations who have completed rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards.”
Many destinations tout “autism-friendly” options; however, this term does not necessarily indicate a true understanding of families’ requirements. More parents are now seeking out destinations that have completed research-based training and professional review to ensure the best experience possible. IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center requirements, which include extensive staff training and an on-site audit conducted by leading autism experts. Dolphin Discovery will also be listed with other CACs on AutismMember.org, a partnership between IBCCES and Autism Society to connect families and individuals with businesses and resources committed to serving individuals on the spectrum.