The Fort Worth Zoo has made a commitment to ensure all visitors, including those with autism and other sensory needs, have an amazing experience. As part of this commitment, the Zoo recently earned the Certified Autism Center™ designation, which is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that have completed an autism-specific training and review process in order to better serve all guests.
“We’re pleased to be counted among a growing number of institutions that are Certified Autism Centers™. Our zoo offers many inroads to creativity and discovery, and we’re pleased to add another means of accessibility. We hope this will further increase our audiences while making the Zoo even more usable and available,” said Michael Fouraker, Fort Worth Zoo Executive Director.
Individuals and families with children on the autism spectrum often find choosing attractions and recreational opportunities difficult due to uncertainty about how they will be received and what accommodations are available. The Fort Worth Zoo is setting the bar in Texas as the first zoo to become Certified Autism Center™.
“We believe it is essential that all individuals can experience the world around them in a safe and welcoming way,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Our Certified Autism Center™ designation is awarded to organizations who are committed to completing rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards, as well as an ongoing commitment to enhancing accessibility.”
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel and recreation options. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for attractions, hotels, zoos, aquariums, and other recreational locations. More families and individuals are seeking out destinations and organizations that have completed a certification program through an accredited source. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based information as well as the perspectives of individuals with autism, alongside other tools and resources such as onsite reviews and customized recommendations, as well as renewal requirements to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact.
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 the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
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