Destination Toledo has earned the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that have completed autism-specific training and certification in order to better understand and welcome autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors and their families. Destination Toledo’s CAC certification is the first step in the organization’s initiative to help Toledo achieve the designation of Certified Autism Destination (CAD)to attract new visitors to the area and expand accessibility offerings.
“The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards autism certification is an important step in Toledo’s pursuit to becoming an inclusive and welcoming destination for all,” shared Lance Woodworth, President & CEO of Destination Toledo. “Visitors should feel confident planning a trip to a certified destination knowing their specific needs will be considered, and barriers to travel limited.”
Many autistic individuals and their families want to travel but may worry they will not be understood, welcomed, or have access to accommodations at many hotels, attractions, and other points of interest. Through community designation as a CAD, a selection of the destination’s attractions, hotels, recreation, and entertainment venues complete autism and sensory training and certification, as well as onsite reviews and have long-term access to other supports through IBCCES. This process and designation ensure there are concrete steps in place to enhance the visitor experience and welcome new autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors who can now feel welcomed, safe, and enjoy in a more welcoming environment.
“There are millions of autistic and sensory sensitive individuals who are looking for options to travel, recreate, and live. The need has never been greater for a better understanding of what these travelers want and how to serve ALL visitors in the best way possible, which is why IBCCES’ certification programs and long-term support options were created. We’re excited to work with Destination Toledo as the team enhances its focus on accessibility and ensures that more travelers can create lasting memories together,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
Destination Toledo is currently working to engage additional local partners in the travel and entertainment space to help ensure there are a variety of autism certified options in the areas of lodging, recreation, and entertainment as the CAD initiative moves forward. As part of its focus on accessibility, Destination Toledo’s website, VisitToledo.org, also utilizes various technologies to ensure accessibility for all users.
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, public safety, travel and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES created programs specifically for the hospitality and recreational organizations such as hotels, theme parks, and other attractions so staff would be more knowledgeable and other accommodations offered to this growing, but underserved, part of the community. IBCCES is the only credentialing board offering these types of programs, which include training from subject matter experts and autistic self-advocates, as well as long-term support and continuous learning, onsite reviews, and more.
IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for families that lists certified options and connects them to other resources. Each location listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
About Destination Toledo
Destination Toledo is the official Destination Marketing Organization for the Toledo region. Our team is here to share about the world class attractions that make Toledo a stand-out travel destination. Toledo boasts the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, one of the top-rated zoos in the United States featuring more than 10,000 animals representing over 720 species, along with the world-renowned Toledo Museum of Art complete with 35 galleries filled with masterpieces, the Glass Pavilion with its famous glass collection, a sculpture garden and a campus of beautiful buildings of architectural significance.
Toledo is also host to two hometown sports teams, the minor league baseball team, Toledo Mud Hens and the ECHL hockey team, The Toledo Walleye.
The area has many other major attractions including the National Museum of the Great Lakes, portraying the stunning history of our rich Great Lakes with interactive exhibits, haunting artifacts and an original Great Lakes freighter and tug boat available for tours. Imagination Station, Toledo’s hands-on science center, is fun for kids of all ages, and the Glass City is also just a quick drive away from one of the top amusement parks in the country, Cedar Point.