Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction is now a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Completion of the certification means that visitors with autism and other sensory needs can now have the sweetest experience possible. The certification process includes evidence-based staff training and certification, sensory guides for each attraction created by IBCCES, as well as additional updates to the guest experience and processes as recommended by IBCCES through an onsite review.
“The Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction team is proud to now be designated a Certified Autism Center™,” remarked Suzanne Jones, Vice President of The Hershey Experience, The Hershey Company. “We are pleased to be an inclusive and welcoming destination for all families to enjoy the magic of chocolate making.”
More parents and individuals are seeking out destinations and organizations that have completed a certification program through an accredited source. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based information as well as the perspectives of individuals with autism, alongside other tools and resources such as onsite reviews and customized recommendations to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact.
In addition to the CAC designation, Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction offers a Sensory Friendly Night in November of each year, offering their Free Tour Ride with reduced audio, a caregiving companion pass for Create Your Own Candy Bar, and 4D show modified into three levels for sensory sensitivities. They also offer one-night-only retail and food discounts. To prepare for the experience, Chocolate World offers a Pre-Visit Social Story. Additionally, service animals are permitted in all publicly accessible areas of Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction. With this new designation, the attraction and their staff can be more aware of how to assist and accommodate guests with autism and other sensory disorders all-year round as well as these highlighted events.
“IBCCES strives to certify as many organizations as possible to ensure that there are committed and welcoming options for all families,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “We’re excited to work with attractions around the globe and are proud to add Hershey’s Chocolate World to our network of Certified Autism Centers™.”
For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism certification for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and attractions industry.
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.