Medina Begins the Process of Becoming the First Autism Certified City™ in the Middle East with New Accessibility Initiative

MEDINA, Saudi Arabia – (May 9, 2024) – The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is proud to announce its partnership with the city of Medina, which has begun the process of becoming the first Autism Certified City™ (ACC) in the Middle East. The prestigious ACC designation can only be earned through IBCCES and is awarded to exceptional communities where key stakeholders, including healthcare, education, local government, hospitality, leisure and corporate members are trained and certified to better serve the neurodiverse population. 

Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Sultan, the prince of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, Al-Madinah Association for Autism "Tamakkon" and IBCCES have signed an agreement for the accreditation program of Medina as an Autism Certified City (ACC).

IBCCES is the global leader in cognitive disorder training and certification and brings over 20 years of industry knowledge and leadership, working toward inclusion and accessibility for all. With a presence in 110 countries, IBCCES has had an impact on enhancing accessibility and quality of life around the globe. This designation will be significant for Medina, which has a rich history in the region, as becoming an ACC provides benefits to both Medina residents and visitors, ensuring there are welcoming options for everyone. The goal of this initiative is to revamp Medina’s social landscape to be accessible and accommodating for autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals and their families.

“The goals of the initiative have been clearly outlined by both parties, specifying the necessary steps to achieve them This includes providing training and education about autism for teachers, healthcare professionals, and the community at large, and how to effectively and empathetically interact with individuals on the autism spectrum. The initiative involves developing tailored training programs to meet the needs of different sectors in the community, such as teachers, healthcare workers, police officers, and others, with the aim of raising awareness and understanding about autism and enhancing the skills required to interact with individuals on the spectrum.” says Dr. Adel Alawfi, CEO of Al-Madina Association for Autism “Tamakkon”.

“Additionally, it entails developing specific action plans to implement targeted measures in the city to make it more autism-friendly. This includes improving accessibility in public places and developing recreational and educational programs tailored to individuals with autism and their families.  Mechanisms have also been put in place to assess and monitor the progress of the initiative and measure its impact on the local community through regular surveys and questionnaires to gauge community satisfaction and response to the initiative, identifying areas needing improvement and continuous development. Thanks to this initiative, Medina will be at the forefront of providing a supportive and motivating environment for individuals with autism, thereby enhancing their quality of life and increasing their opportunities for full integration in society,” he adds.

Group photo of Medina City officials, Tamakkon staff and officials, and IBCCES Board Chairman with His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Sultan, the prince of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah

“What further enhances the importance of this initiative, making it more comprehensive and effective, is the special status of Medina in Islam as the home of the Prophet’s Mosque and the burial place of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which makes it a religious destination for Muslims from all over the world.” Says Engr. Mohammed Abbas, Board Chairman of Al-Madina Association for Autism “Tamakkon”. “The number of visitors to Medina increases annually, and among these visitors are families with members on the autism spectrum. Therefore, it became necessary to provide a comfortable and accommodating environment for these individuals during their visit to the city. Hence, the initiative arose through an effective partnership between Al-Madina Association for Autism “Tamakkon” and the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).”

This initiative is not just about accommodating individuals on the autism spectrum; it’s about embracing diversity and building a community where every individual, regardless of their neurodiversity, feels valued and supported. This initiative signifies that Medina is not only a destination of historical and significance but also a place where empathy and accessibility are at the forefront.

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Sultan, the prince of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah

Medina will be the first Autism Certified City™ in the Middle East, a designation bestowed by (IBCCES) that aims to encourage businesses to participate in specialized autism training for front-facing hospitality and service staff to better recognize Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and service the needs of ASD residents and tourists from the planning stages of a vacation to when they arrive in the destination, and throughout their stay.

“IBCCES is excited to partner with the city of Medina and the Al-Madina Association for Autism to enhance accessibility and inclusivity across the entire community,” says Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman. “By making the effort to become an Autism Certified City™, Medina is proving its dedication to creating a welcoming environment for all people. We commend their efforts in paving the way to a more inclusive future for every person that lives in or visits the city.” 

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Sultan, the prince of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah

IBCCES is the only global credentialing board providing organizations with these programs, which include training from clinical and industry experts alongside self-advocates sharing their lived experiences. IBCCES certifications also include long-term support, additional resources and renewal requirements to ensure lasting impact. 

IBCCES also created and, free online resources for families to find certified locations and professionals. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.

About Medina

Medina is a city in western Saudi Arabia with a significant Islamic importance, renowned as the second holiest city in Islam after Mecca, Medina is home to the sacred Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the Prophet’s Mosque, which is a central pilgrimage site for Muslims worldwide. With a population exceeding 2 million residents, the city vibrates with cultural diversity and economic vitality. The region is also experiencing a surge in developmental and civilizational initiatives aimed to serve 23 million visitors annually. Beyond its religious importance, Medina boasts a unique landscape with its volcanic remnants, and rugged mountain backdrop, creating a captivating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue, inviting visitors to explore its timeless beauty. The Autism Certified City (ACC) initiative reflects the city’s commitment to embracing diversity and ensuring that all residents and visitors, regardless of their neurodiversity, feel welcomed and supported in this cherished city.


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

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