A city in California has been designated as the country’s first certified autism destination. Visalia was awarded by the International Board of Credentials and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
John Oneto, President of Visit Visalia, said: “Viselia has long prided itself on being a welcoming and engaging community. It was a joint effort to ensure that all visitors were comfortable and enjoyed their stay in the nearby national parks.”
This designation is the result of a year-long effort by local tourism partners to better accommodate the destination travel needs of autistic adventurers and their families.
With 42% of Visalia’s major hotels and several family-friendly attractions certified, Visalia has been designated as a Certified Autism Destination. The tourism-focused partner went through a professional autism training program and became an accredited autism center. This training is designed for face-to-face hospitality and service staff to better recognize and respond to the needs of travelers with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In addition to training, tourism operators have sensory guides, signage, quiet spaces and low-sensory nights. In the fall of 2022, the city will host three sensory-friendly events at the ImagineU Children’s Museum where he created one sensory-friendly night a month.
Visalia’s efforts also include the Hidden Disability Sunflower program. Visit Visalia provides travelers with complimentary sunflower straps and bracelets upon request. When worn, the sunflower acts as a visual cue to trained hospitality her staff throughout Visalia that travelers may need additional support during their visit.
Research shows that 87% of parents of children with autism would not travel, but 93% would if given the option. Therefore, this designation is very important. Visalia has received this designation from IBCCES. Credentialing Board, Accreditation Body and Global Leader in Online Her Training and Certification Programs. Currently only CAD. Other communities such as Dubai. High Point, North Carolina. Palm Springs, California. and Toledo, Ohio are working toward designation. Mesa, Arizona is the only autism-certified city.
IBCCES President Meredith Tekin said: “This means more visitors and travelers with autism and sensory needs and sensitivities have places to stay and play when they visit Visalia and their experiences are great.” It means you can rest easy knowing that you have the resources to make sure.”
Get a list of Visalia’s accredited autism centers and learn more about the initiative through a comprehensive and accessible trip to Visit Visalia and the nearby Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
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