SeaWorld’s Aquatica Orlando First Water Park Certified Autism Center

Aquatica Orlando recently announced they have become the first water park in the world to earn the designation of Certified Autism Center (CAC).

Aquatica Orlando is First Theme Park to be a Certified Autism Center ©SeaWorld

Earning this designation included the completion of staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training, and an onsite review of the park property and guest experience in conjunction with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

The completion designates Aquatica Orlando as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as distinguished by IBCCES — the first water park in the world to receive such a distinction. Aquatica’s sister park Sesame Place became the world’s first certified autism center theme park last April.

Aquatica Orlando is First Theme Park to be a Certified Autism Center ©SeaWorld

The staff at Aquatica will be continually trained, by and with IBCCES, to assist guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to help ensure a positive experience during their visit. Guests will also be provided with specific information about attractions and experiences along with in-park accommodations to help them plan their day and make informed choices best suited to their individual needs.

Robust pre-visit planning resources will be added to the park’s website including a sensory guide developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction. The park will also have a quiet room inside the park with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.

For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options, and in response, created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.

As a Certified Autism Center, Aquatica Orlando is required to provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.  Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.

Have you been to Aquatica recently? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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