Queen Creek Parks and Recreation, in an effort to be more accommodating to visitors and residents with autism, has completed a training and certification program through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Earning the designation of Certified Autism Center (CAC) ensures that the staff of Queen Creek are better equipped to help create an inclusive environment in community spaces. As part of the certification process, IBCCES also reviewed key parks and community resources and will be providing additional information and guides for visitors and residents to the area.
“Queen Creek strives to be an inclusive community for people of all abilities,” shared Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney. “This certification is an important milestone towards that goal. It better prepares our staff to interact with individuals with autism, enhancing their experience at our parks and in our programs. We are committed to providing quality programs and services for the entire community and are excited to achieve this designation to better serve Queen Creek.”
Queen Creek is also joining a growing number of organizations that are becoming certified near Mesa, Arizona, which is due to a concerted effort started by Visit Mesa to become the most inclusive community in the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism, and the diagnosis rates have risen in past years.
“The need is growing for all organizations to be able to welcome individuals and families with autism – we provide an evidence-based and proven method to ensure staff can have more positive interactions with their friends and neighbors, as well as visitors,” says Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Certification takes their commitment to beyond autism friendly and provides a way for them to ensure they have access to resources.”
Parents with children on the autism spectrum often struggle when looking for recreational options, due to specific needs and sensory sensitivities, as well as a lack of information on places they want to visit or activities they want to engage in. IBCCES recognized these limitations and created certification programs specifically designed to help recreational and travel related organizations understand how to be more welcoming and accommodating to these visitors. For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism and cognitive disorder training and certification, working with education, healthcare and corporate professionals to ultimately improve the quality of life for individuals with these disorders.
An oasis in the East Valley of the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Queen Creek, Arizona is a young and quickly growing town. Steeped in a rich heritage stretching back far before its incorporation in 1989, there are many reasons Forbes Magazine ranked Queen Creek as “One of America’s Friendliest Cities.”
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 (CAC) requirements.