The Story Behind and the Efforts
One of the top water parks in Florida, Aquatica Orlando, became the first “Certified Autism Water Park” in the world, in January, 2019.
This is officially the first water park in the world that has received accreditation of this type received from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
The IBCCES stamp of approval was received after a thorough review of the property, the staff, and the guest experience.
The VP, David Heaton stated that he is happy to announce that all families, including families with autistic children, can now enjoy the experience in the water park safely and properly.
The staff of Aquatica Orlando has acquired training on communication, awareness, sensitivity, and motor abilities related to autism.
The staff members have to pass an exam after the training to become certified assistants of children with special needs.
The website of the water park offers resources for families to make plans about their visit in advance.
The resources are made for individuals who encounter difficulties in sensory processing.
The guides explain to the visitors what to expect from the experiences of the attractions and their potential impact.
In addition, it is important to mention that Aquatica also have installed the so-called “low sensory areas”, i.e. “quiet rooms” where guests can relax in comfortable seats and pleasant lighting.
The low sensory areas are located near Loggerhead Land and Kata’s Kookaburra Cove.
Aquatica Orlando’s Path to Autism Certification
To become a Certified Autism Center, Aquatica Orlando needed to go through a certain procedure, including several guidelines by the IBCCES.
The requirements are a guarantee of basic standards of a certain business with a CAC moniker.
The CAC moniker has to be dedicated to serving autistic children and provide a minimum of eighty percent of the staff trained and certified for autism.
Also, it has to comply with and follow the standards of the National Healthcare/Education Accreditation and the HIPAA and ADA requirements and commit to maintaining autism training.
More Autism-Certified Places in the US
The board chairman of the IBCCES explained that the rise of cases with cognitive disorders increased the need for autism-certified places and organizations that would like to support their guests in need.
Inclusiveness has become a frequent topic of discussion in theme parks and public children areas.
The theme park Sesame Place, located in Pennsylvania, has become a Certified Autism Center and has been since focused on a comprehensive approach in its attempt to make the fun park a friendly environment for children with autism and their families.
US has more to offer when it comes to accommodating guests on the autism spectrum.
According to the IBCCES, when a business becomes CAC they serve the community and also become competitive in the business sphere.
The partnerships and the opportunity for more experiences in the market become more plausible when businesses improve their services to people with autism.
CACs in the Future
Autism has lately become one of the most rapid developmental disorders in the world.
The number of families who experience life with autism keeps growing, so there is a great need for safe and amusing places where they would spend quality time.
We hope that companies and businesses, in general, will follow the example of Aquatica Orlando and increase inclusiveness.