Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find vacationing to be a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns. The Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort is the latest destination to become a Certified Autism Center to help ensure guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience.
The Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort currently offers a program called MAX, which is short for Member of Autism Care Services and named in honor of Max Behura, a boy with autism who – along with his older brother, Alexander – inspired Sheraton to recognize the need for such a program. As a continuation of the program’s goals, the hotel recently became a certified destination through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children with special needs have limited travel options. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry. While many destinations tout “autism-friendly” options, this phrase is a generic term that does not necessarily indicate a true understanding of these families’ requirements. More parents are now seeking out destinations that have undergone research-based training and professional review to ensure the best experience possible. IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center requirements, which include extensive staff training and an on-site audit conducted by leading autism experts.
“We’re proud to partner with Autism Travel and IBCCES to extend the benefits of the MAX Program to families visiting Southern California and the Disneyland area. When developing the program, many of us on the hotel team were impacted by the stories shared regarding challenges encountered in travel by ASD families and we set about trying to provide some relief,” said Ian Gee, general manager of the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort. “With guidance from behavioral specialists and direct input by our ‘adopted’ ASD family we are now ready to welcome you, to offer care and amenities tailored to your family’s needs and ensuring you some rest and relaxation during your visit. At Sheraton our goal is to go ‘above and beyond’ for all our guests, but we recognize the opportunity to do more is sometimes needed.”
While research shows that travel is one of the most intellectually stimulating events for individuals on the spectrum, there are still few trained and certified travel options for parents looking for destinations able to accommodate their needs. Organizations like IBCCES and industry leaders such as Sheraton Park Hotel are working to change that.
“Our goal is to partner with the leading travel destinations in the world to create safe, sensory-compatible travel options for parents and individuals on the spectrum. Our Certified Autism Center designation is awarded to premier organizations around the globe who have completed rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
About Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort
Surrounded by world-famous Disneyland® theme parks, shopping, dining and entertainment, Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort is at the heart of the best things to do in Southern California. As a Disneyland® family hotel, we offer a comfortable and inviting space for your family’s vacation or business trip. With you in mind, we’ve transformed our hotel with a multi-million dollar renovation to offer a space that’s perfect for your cast of characters. While you are here, relax amongst our tropical surroundings while enjoying a host of amenities in one of our 490 refreshed guest rooms.