Managing Expectations When Traveling

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family travel autismContributed by: Melissa A. Rowan – Certified Autism Travel Professional, Travel Consultant | Make Incredible Memories Travel 

Children giggling and whispering contentedly in the backseat of the car with nary an argument.  Cherubic children sleeping peacefully in their beds – where they went without a fuss –  after a full day of sightseeing.  A day in the amusement park without a single tear, cross word, or disagreement amongst family members.   Precious …and extended moments with Big Bird or Elmo.  Every family member eating everything on their plate and not a bite of wasted food.  All family members equally interested in every event and activity planned on the vacation.

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VillaKey Designated A Certified Autism Center

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VillaKey has completed the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center, which is a designation that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring their clients who have autism or sensory sensitivities will have the best possible experience. This is the first vacation rental company globally to earn the CAC designation.

VillaKey has helped families, many with children on the autism spectrum, book vacation home rentals for years, but they furthered their commitment to serving those clients by completing the CAC program, which includes evidence-based staff training, through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). As a Certified Autism Center, parents can rest assured when booking through VillaKey that their needs will be understood and VillaKey’s experts will guide them to the best option for their family.

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Children’s Museum of Houston Designated a Certified Autism Center

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The Children’s Museum of Houston  was recently designated a Certified Autism Center, which is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and demonstrates a commitment to ongoing training and a formal certification process in order to better serve individuals on the autism spectrum.

“The Children’s Museum of Houston’s vision is to spark a passion for lifelong learning in all children.  We know every child is unique in their learning styles and have always strived to be an institution of inclusion.  As a result, the Children’s Museum of Houston has created an environment which allows all children to discover their interest and engage in developmentally appropriate play.  That philosophy influences our physical environment, attitudes, expectations and opportunities for all children, regardless of disability,” said Vandolyn Esparza, Alexander Specialist for Early Literacy and Special Learning Needs at Children’s Museum of Houston.

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Colebrookdale Railroad Becomes Certified Autism Center

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Colebrookdale Railroad has completed the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center, which is a designation that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests and families with children who have autism and sensory disorders have the best possible experience. Stretching between Berks and Montgomery Counties, the Colebrookdale Railroad traverses the Secret Valley, one of the most scenic and historic regions in the northeast.

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Disney faces legal action over accommodations for guests with autism

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rollercoaster amusement park boy and father fmailyIBCCES works with travel and hospitality organizations around the world, such as resorts, hotels, museums and theme parks, to ensure their staff are trained and certified to accommodate guests with autism and other special needs. We believe this is not only the right thing to do, but that it is a business requirement for these organizations to continue serving their guests and providing AMAZING experiences.

Recently, Disney has been in the news due to legal issues arising from its accommodations specifically for guests on the autism spectrum.

“A federal appeals court Friday said a trial is needed in a legal battle about whether Disney theme parks have taken adequate steps to meet the needs of customers who have autism and cannot wait long times for rides.”

The outcome of these actions is still to be determined; however, this case, and many others, highlights the need for organizations to ensure they have a thorough understanding of guests’ needs and a comprehensive strategy to welcome ALL guests.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Bouncetown Becomes Certified Autism Center

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Bouncetown has completed the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center, which is a designation that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience. This is the first organization of its kind to earn the CAC designation.

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Dolphin Discovery Earns Certified Autism Center Designation

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Dolphin Discovery is the latest attraction to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC) to help ensure guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience. Dolphin Discovery’s Dolphin Cove in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, recently implemented a training and certification program provided by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). IBCCES also created custom sensory guides for each activity to help guests know what to expect when visiting.

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As seen on CNN: Theme parks, other family destinations accommodate families with autism

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[excerpt from CNN.com]

A vacation to an amusement park can be a daunting venture for any family, but for a family of a child with special needs, that trip may seem like an impossible dream.

You’re always on edge,” said Jerry Turning of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. “There’s a lot of sensory bombardment that our kids endure when they go to a place like this. Whether its the noise or the crowds or waiting in line, it’s always challenging.” Turning’s son, Eric, has autism. […]

At Sesame Place, his son feels understood and accepted. Although he may fidget in line or make funny noises, he faces no judgment from park staff or fellow visitors.

For Turning, the “cherry on top” is the new designation as a Certified Autism Center, which makes Sesame Place the first theme park in the world to receive that distinction from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. To earn the certification, the board requires at least 80% of a park’s staff to complete rigorous training on autism sensitivity and awareness. […]

And it’s not just theme parks recognizing the need for expanded accessibility for individuals with cognitive disorders; resorts are also getting in on the game.

Beaches Resorts, which also partners with Sesame Workshop to offer shows and activities, is the first resort company to be credentialed by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. According to Liz Kaiser, Beaches’ partnership marketing director, all staff members at every level have been trained in autism sensitivity and awareness. The resorts also provide a variety of customized services for families, including culinary concierge services to aid with dietary issues, a one-on-one aide, “quiet check-in,” and private transfers.

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards has also credentialed Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, as well as the Sheraton Park Anaheim near Disneyland. The Georgia Aquarium is also an Autism Center, and Space Center Houston was designated as such last month.

Read the full article here.

Space Center Houston Now A Certified Autism Center

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First Space Center in the World to Earn Certified Autism Center Designation

Space Center Houston is the first space center in the world to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC). The designation, given by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), is awarded to organizations who have completed a professional training and review process with the goal to better serve individuals with autism and other sensory needs.

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Parent Perspective: The zoo is a perfect outing for kids with autism

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by: Nicole Thibault, CATP – Magical Storybook Travels

When my son was first diagnosed with Autism, even leaving the house was a challenge. My son’s meltdowns often happened in public, where sensory overloads of sights and sounds would often overwhelm him. Even a quick trip to a grocery store could lead to a meltdown.

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