Valley Oaks Golf Course is the first of its kind to become a Certified Autism Center™(CAC) in California. The CAC designation is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that complete position-specific training and certification to help staff better communicate and serve all guests and those with sensory differences.
“As the first golf course in California to become a Certified Autism Center™, we are excited about the opportunity to share our passion for the great game of golf with others previously unrepresented within our community. We know that in addition to being a great sport, there are several other benefits the game of golf can provide to autistic children. Not only is there a natural outdoor health and wellness component inherent in the game itself, but golf can also help build self-esteem and confidence in autistic children in a welcoming and supportive environment, said Aaron Hensley, general manager of Oak Valley Golf Course. “Unlike team sports that require a player to react to or even anticipate a teammate’s actions, golf is a game of one. That makes it ideal for autistic children who have difficulty reading the social cues of those around them. Additionally, the experiences kids have on a golf course allow them to reshape their inner conversations and perceptions of interacting with other people and the environment. Following completion of the certification process, our staff is now better equipped to serve families by offering inclusive experiences for individuals with autism and other special needs.”
“We’re excited to work with Valley Oaks Golf Course and support them as they strengthen the guest experience on and off the golf course. The Valley Oaks Golf Course team has enhanced their commitment to providing the best possible experience for all guests,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
Valley Oaks Golf Course is a participating partner of Visit Visalia’s “Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program” which allows guests to discretely let golf course staff know they or someone in their party has a disability that might require a little extra help. Special accommodations may include expedited check-in/check-out, consideration for specific seating requests inside the restaurant, consideration for playing in a private group, and allowing outside food or accommodating a special request for the individual(s) on the spectrum.
In the coming months, Valley Oaks Golf Course will have designated “quiet space” available for those in need and comfort-packs available upon request that include noise-canceling headsets, fidget toys, playdough, etc.
Additionally, Valley Oaks Golf Course will host seasonal ASD golf clinics where those on the spectrum can begin to learn and experience the game of golf in a welcoming and supportive group setting.
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for education, healthcare, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES provides evidence-based training and certification programs created in conjunction with clinical experts and autistic individuals to provide professionals a better understanding of how to communicate and interact with individuals with cognitive differences or sensory needs, industry best practices, and the latest research in these areas. IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, as a free online resource for parents that lists certified locations and professionals. Each organization listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
IBCCES also manages AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for families that lists certified destinations and resources to plan their leisure experiences. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements.
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