Partnership Between UNO Parks and IBCCES leads to the First Certified Autism Center™ in Europe

Two members of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) have created a long-term partnership to create options for families with autism and other cognitive disorders to enjoy amusement parks, rope courses and other attractions all over the world. UNO Parks is a treetop adventure park architect group in the Baltics with over 42 parks built worldwide. The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is the industry leader in autism training and certification. Via this partnership they have a goal of training and certifying UNO Parks’ indoor and outdoor adventure parks both in Baltics and Worldwide. Continue Reading →

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50 “Accessible Hacks” to Make Travel More Enjoyable for People with a Disability.

Today we are sharing a wonderful blog from the founder of TravelAbility Summit, Jake Steinman.

“TravelAbility Summit, the inaugural gathering of industry professionals dedicated to improving travel experiences for people with disabilities that will be held in San Francisco November 11-13th, is releasing the names of 50 technologies, products, and services that will help the travel industry level-up their accessibility. The 50 final products make travel easier for all and were based on the feedback of people with disabilities, technical experts and disability industry leaders.

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Sesame Place + Inclusion: A First-Hand Perspective

Sesame Place was the first theme park in the world to become a Certified Autism Center™(CAC), as designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES.) Sesame Place has continued to champion inclusiveness for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and others with special needs. Sesame Place’s goal is to create an environment that welcomes all visitors, and the CAC training and certification process was the first step. Dr. Kerry Magro, autism advocate, best-selling author and professional speaker, shares his thoughts and experiences at Sesame Place:

“By Sesame Place becoming a Certified Autism Center™ and also really being a pioneer for our community, it’s doing incredible, incredible things for our autism community – and helping engage our community to get out there and explore the world around them,” says Dr. Magro.

Sesame Place – Kerry Magro from IBCCES on Vimeo.

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Scuba Diving and Autism Part 3: Reduce Danger and Learn New Skills

Learning Water Skills Can Help Reduce the Danger of Water

It is widely known that drowning is a major concern for children with autism, which sometimes leads parents to avoid water altogether.

Also, if individuals on the spectrum have not developed a level of comfort or the proper skillset to know what to do when confronted with water, this could lead to sensory overload when those encounters occur. Signs of sensory overload can vary for each individual, but typically there are ways to recognize these signs and reduce or prevent sensory overload or “meltdowns”.

It is usually easier for a parent or someone other than the person with autism to recognize these signs and to act on them before it is too late. While children can and should be trained themselves on how to try and recognize these signs and take steps for prevention of sensory overload, this is usually a lifelong process of continual refinement (and hopefully improvement).

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have children with autism have experiences in water with trained professionals. If they can develop a comfort level and get practice in the water under proper supervision, then being around water will be that much safer for them in other areas of life.

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Courtyard Phoenix Mesa Receives Certified Autism Center Designation

Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find choosing travel and vacation options a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns. To address this need, Courtyard Phoenix Mesa has earned the designation of Certified Autism Center (CAC), awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The certification means that the hotel is committed to serving guests with autism and sensory needs and have completed training to ensure guests can enjoy the best possible experience.

The Courtyard Phoenix Mesa also joins a growing number of organizations that are becoming certified in Arizona, a movement inspired by the work of the Visit Mesa organization and that community’s goal to become the most autism inclusive in the world. Continue Reading →

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Autism and Water Affinity: Increase Awareness and Reduce the Danger of Water

Awareness and Proper Supervision Can Help Reduce the Danger of Water

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism and recent reports show that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to die from drowning than the general population of children (Gleeson, 2016), which sometimes leads to parents avoiding water all together.

Also, if individuals on the spectrum have not developed a level of comfort or the proper skillset to know what to do when confronted with water, this could lead to sensory overload when those encounters occur. Signs of sensory overload can vary for each individual, but typically there are ways to recognize these signs and reduce or prevent sensory overload or “meltdowns”.

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have children with autism have experiences in water with trained professionals. If they can develop a comfort level and get practice in the water under proper supervision, then being around water will be that much safer for them in other areas of life.

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NY Times: Rolling Out the Welcome Mat for Travelers With Autism

A growing number of theme parks, hotels and special attractions are introducing autism training and sensory guides.

 
 

The Thibault family at Rio Secreto, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, 2017. From left, Chris, Sebastian, Tristan, Emerson and Nicole Thibault.Credit via Thibault family

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When Nicole Thibault had her first child, she imagined traveling everywhere with him. But by age 2, he would become upset by simply passing a restaurant that smelled of garlic. Waiting in line elicited tantrums and crowded places overwhelmed him. Autism was diagnosed within the year.

“I thought maybe our family dream of travel wouldn’t happen,” said Ms. Thibault, 46, of Fairport, N.Y., who now has three children. But she spent the next three years learning to prepare her son for travel by watching videos of future destinations and attractions so that he would know what to expect. The preparation helped enable him, now 14 and well-traveled, to enjoy adventures as challenging as exploring caves in Mexico. It also encouraged Ms. Thibault to launch a business, Magical Storybook Travels, planning travel for families with special needs.

Now the travel industry is catching up to the family. A growing number of theme parks, special attractions and hotels are introducing autism training and sensory guides that highlight triggers, providing resources in times of need and assuring families they won’t be judged.

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Scuba Diving and Autism Part 2: How Autism Certification Helps

Children with autism are often drawn to water, but without proper training, water can also be a real danger to them. PADI instructors partnering with IBCCES can be an important part of helping these children remain safe and become more comfortable around water.

Drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism. Much of this is preventable by teaching children who are naturally drawn to water better skills for how to swim and manage themselves when they are in the water.

Many families want to help their child develop new skills and abilities, but they have a hard time finding places to do it.

How Autism Certification Can Make a Difference

“Often the road block isn’t the children, it’s finding programs, instructors, and businesses that are willing to adapt their ‘normal’ operations to accommodate and meet the needs for special needs children.” -Chris O’Shea, parent of a child on the autism spectrum (see Chris O’Shea’s original blog post). Continue Reading →

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Scuba Diving and Autism Part 1: Autism and Affinity for Water

Why are People with Autism Drawn to Water?

While no studies have been done on why people with autism tend to be drawn to water more often than other individuals, there is substantial anecdotal evidence of the fascination with water among the autism community.

Here are a few quotes from various online forums compiled in a BBC blog talking about people with autism being drawn to water:

“I am kind of obsessed with flowing water. Nifty water features and mountain streams are like an on switch for happy. I can stare at them for ages. Even better if I can get down to the water and wade in it, play in it, float things in it, splash in it. Mountain streams are the best though – the water is always cold and clear. Fountains can be good, but they are often warm, which isn’t nearly as good.” Continue Reading →

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Mesa Parks: A Leader in Inclusivity, Autism and Innovation

Mesa, Arizona is booming with activity and a caring community of over half a million, the 37th largest city in the country. With almost 160 square miles, it is the perfect place to visit on a family vacation or even to consider calling home if looking for a change of scenery.

Mesa Parks has been at the forefront of the inclusive culture surrounding autism and cognitive disorders in Mesa, Arizona. Continue Reading →

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