Visit Visalia is the first destination marketing organization in California to earn the Certified Autism Center™ designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Visit Visalia completed training and certification in autism to help families and autistic individuals prepare for their perfect vacation and enjoy the varied travel offerings in and around Visalia.
“Visit Visalia and its Board of Directors are pleased to partner with IBCCES to become an autism-certified destination marketing organization. This important designation will let families and individuals with special needs travel with confidence knowing we have completed this specialized training and can provide a positive vacation experience,” said Anil Chagan, Visit Visalia Board Chair.
Visit Visalia is also initiating a movement with the help of IBCCES to become a Certified Autism Destination (CAD). The CAD designation is awarded to destinations where hospitality and recreation organizations are trained and certified to better serve autistic individuals and those with other sensory disorders. Visit Visalia’s team is taking the first steps to help build a more inclusive community.
“As the first destination marketing organization in California to complete the IBCCES training and be designated a Certified Autism Center™, Visit Visalia is proud to provide memorable experiences to all families visiting Visalia and our adjacent Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.” said Nellie Freeborn, Visit Visalia Executive Director. “As a mother of an autistic child and a tourism and hospitality professional, I personally relate to the challenge’s families experience when traveling. This autism certification provides a deeper understanding and compassion – it is part of our mission to show families that Visalia is dedicated to serving the autism community.”
“IBCCES is excited to be a part of Visit Visalia’s initiative to serve autistic individuals and their families better. Organizations like Visit Visalia are vital to creating more inclusive communities for residents and visitors alike,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many autistic adults and families with autistic children have limited travel and recreation options where they feel safe and welcomed. IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for attractions, hotels, zoos, aquariums, and other recreational locations in response to this need. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based training from experts as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals, alongside other tools and resources such as onsite reviews and customized recommendations, and renewal requirements to ensure the program is a long-term commitment that has a lasting impact.
IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for families that lists certified attractions and destinations and connects them to other resources. Each organization listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
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