Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert Earns Autism Certification to Join the Greater Palm Springs Community-Wide Accessibility Initiative

Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert, a charity organization dedicated to supporting children with various needs and abilities, is proud to announce its designation as a Certified Autism Center™ which is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). With staff members trained in sensory awareness, Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert is taking a significant step towards expanding its programs and enhancing its ability to serve autistic and sensory-sensitive children and their families.

“Becoming a designated Certified Autism Center™ with staff members trained in sensory awareness is an important part of Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert’s program expansion,” said Heidi Maldoon, Executive Director of Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert. “Through the process of earning the Certified Autism Center ™ designation, we are positioning our team to improve how we assist children and parents both during the screening process and in services and support which follow. This opportunity elevates our ability to serve and support autistic children and their families at our Palm Desert Resource Center. Through workshops and resources for parents and children navigating their unique experiences with autism, we will be better equipped to impact families on their journey. I commend Visit Greater Palm Springs for recognizing this valuable opportunity to be part of a movement of intentional support and inclusion.”

Variety Photo

With the recent increase in autism diagnosis rates to 1 in 36 children and 1 in 6 people with sensory needs, it has become increasingly crucial to provide community organizations with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively approach and assist these individuals. In addition to certification, Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert is committed to ensuring children have access to materials that empower them, instill confidence, and promote self-esteem. The organization provides tools and resources that help children predict outcomes, practice following directions step by step, and make positive choices in everyday situations. Furthermore, Variety offers guidance, workshops, and activities for parents to follow and practice at home, laying the foundation for strong family relationships.


By completing the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) process, Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert joins a larger movement initiated by Visit Greater Palm Springs to achieve the  Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD) designation. This designation ensures that visitors to the Greater Palm Springs area have multiple trained and certified options to choose from, including entertainment, recreation, and lodging. Notable Greater Palm Springs-area businesses and organizations that have already earned the Certified Autism Center™ designation include Visit Greater Palm Springs, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and the Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory, with many others in the process.

“We are thrilled to certify Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert as a Certified Autism Center™ and welcome them into our network of organizations committed to serving autistic individuals and their families. Their dedication to providing resources and support aligns perfectly with our mission to create a more inclusive world,” stated Myron Pincomb, Board Chairman of IBCCES. “We also commend Visit Greater Palm Springs for their vision and leadership in initiating the Certified Autism Destination™ program, and together, we can foster a community-wide commitment to inclusivity and setting a standard of excellence for other businesses and organizations to follow.”


For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, public safety, travel, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES is the only credentialing board offering travel and entertainment industry-specific programs, which include training from subject matter experts and autistic self-advocates, as well as long-term support and continuous learning, onsite reviews, and renewal requirements to ensure there is continued learning and lasting impact.

To locate more certified options and resources, IBCCES created and as free online resources for families. Each organization listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.

About Variety of the Desert 

Formed in the Coachella Valley in 1987, Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert is dedicated to promoting the health, mobility, independence and social inclusion of special needs and disadvantaged children throughout the Coachella Valley. By providing life-enriching assistance to local children, Variety hopes to help children experience all the joys of childhood while growing to become confident, independent and free to access all that the world has to offer. Variety – the Children’s Charity of the Desert, is a chapter of Variety – the Children’s Charity, an international charity with over 40 chapters around the world. Formed in 1928 in the Sheridan theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by a group of 10 show businessmen to help children in need, Variety is one of the oldest and most comprehensive children’s charities in the world. Learn more at



Committed to providing The Global Standard For Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.

Find Out How To Become A Certified Autism Center™

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