This spring, SeaWorld Orlando WAS DESIGNATED as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
The park joins sister properties Discovery Cove and Aquatica Orlando water park to receive the CAC designation.
“We are very proud to be the first family of parks in Orlando to offer this service to our guests, giving all families the opportunity to enjoy important time together,” Suzanne Pelisson-Beasley, corporate communications manager for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, tells Funworld.
Employees at the Orlando parks underwent autism sensitivity training, while the facilities took part in an on-site review. The CAC accreditation means the employee teams at the Orlando parks can now assist guests who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the goal of providing families with a more favorable experience. Pre-visit planning resources are also on the websites of all three parks, including a sensory guide developed by IBCCES.
“This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense at each attraction,” says Pelisson-Beasley.
Once at the park, guests are given specific information about attractions and experiences, plus access to in-park accommodations.
“Each park also has a designated quiet room with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests in need of some quiet time and relief from sensory stimulation,” says Pelisson-Beasley.
As Certified Autism Centers, all three Orlando parks are required to provide ongoing training to ensure their staff members have the knowledge, skills, and temperament to interact with the families and their children with special needs. Training covers the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness, and it ends with a comprehensive autism competency exam. The training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.
IBCCES first began providing autism training for licensed health-care professionals and educators 20 years ago, recognizing families with special needs children have limited travel options.
To learn more about the IBCCES Certified Autism Center (CAC) certification, visit https://ibcces.org/cac-info.