Wonders of Wildlife and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park become Certified Autism Centers on World Autism Awareness Day

Designation reflects enhanced efforts to serve individuals with autism and other sensory needs

In honor of World Autism Day on April 2, 2019, The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) has designated Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park as Certified Autism Centers (CAC). The designation is awarded to organizations who have completed professional training and review processes with the goal to better serve individuals with autism and other sensory needs.

“Johnny Morris and our entire Conservation Attractions team is dedicated to helping connect people of all ages and abilities to the outdoors,” said Bryan Nadeau, Vice President of Johnny Morris’ Conservation Attractions. “By partnering with IBCCES, Wonders of Wildlife and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park are taking steps to ensure that all families have an opportunity to have fun and get involved in conservation and the outdoors.”

The certification process includes thorough training that helps team members learn to recognize, welcome and accommodate guests with autism spectrum disorder and other sensory needs. Under the direction of IBCCES, both attractions will continue their commitment to welcome all families with ongoing staff training and special activity adaptions that visitors of all abilities, ages and areas of interest will be able to enjoy.

Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find vacationing and visiting attractions such as museums, aquariums, and theme parks to be a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns. 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 options and created programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.

In response to the need for more trained and certified destinations, 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 includes extensive staff training conducted by leading autism experts.

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