Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has completed the process to become a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES.) This credential demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests with autism and sensory sensitivities have the best possible experience, as well as a commitment to ongoing training.
“We are extremely proud to become a Certified Autism Center; our team has worked very hard training to properly serve our guests on the spectrum. We look forward to seeing their enjoyment during their visits to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach,” Pablo Chavez, general manager of Ripley’s Myrtle Beach.
Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find it challenging to choose destinations and attractions where they feel welcomed and understood. More parents are seeking out organizations that are going beyond “autism-friendly” and have completed certification and offer additional programming. IBCCES, a leader in healthcare and education training and certification for 20 years, recognized the need for more certified recreation options for families and created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry to help ensure the best possible experience for individuals with autism or sensory needs. The certification process requires not only evidence-based training but also a commitment to renewing the training and certification periodically and ensuring a host of other options for families.
“We are excited to partner with an organization that keeps inclusion at the forefront of the guest experience,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “IBCCES is working to ensure all families, as well as adults with autism, have options and feel empowered when they visit new attractions or destinations.”
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is an 85,000 square foot, multilevel collection of aquatic creatures and features. In addition to the certification, the aquarium has designed specialized programs for guests with autism and other sensory disorders. These tailored events include Sensory Friendly Days and Sensory Friendly Camps. Additionally, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach are proud partners of Champion Autism Network, a nonprofit autism awareness organization based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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 (CAC) requirements.