Aug. 15, 2017 – Families with special needs now have customized vacation and travel options at their fingertips through AutismTravel.com. Created through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), AutismTravel.com is the first comprehensive online resource to help parents understand their options for travel with special needs in mind.
“Our goal with AutismTravel.com is to help the leading travel destinations in the world create safe, sensory-friendly certified travel options for parents and individuals on the spectrum,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Autism Travel will also provide parents with a community to share ideas, plan trips with other families and explore travel options at some of the most beautiful places in the world.”
Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find vacationing to be a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns. AutismTravel.com has identified the perfect destinations, tools, and activities that are suitable for all families for a stress-free holiday experience.
“We struggled to travel with our two autistic children,” said Dr. Chris O’Shea, a parent of two children on the autism spectrum. “We’ve had good and bad experiences over the last five years, but now through AutismTravel.com, IBCCES has provided parents with the resources they need to find autism-certified destinations. Now parents will know from the beginning that the resort staff is trained and willing to work with our children to create a positive vacation experience.”
For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators all around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children with special needs have limited travel options due to sensory and safety restrictions, and created AutismTravel.com to be a free, online resource with the best options available for enjoyable travel. Though AutismTravel.com is not a direct travel site, it offers the option to work with Certified Autism Travel Professionals (CATP) to help families with customized travel packages to meet their needs. The website also offers access to Certified Autism Specialists around the world, reviewed and approved destinations, helpful tools, sensory-rated activities and an interactive online forum where parents can share ideas and experiences.
“At IBCCES, we want to offer you all the confidence to book that dream vacation,” said Pincomb. “By featuring our preferred certified destinations, we can give the IBCCES stamp of approval that a destination and its staff members are trained and certified to meet those needs and put those concerns to rest.”
Each destination listed on the website has met Certified Autism Center requirements, which include extensive staff training and an on-site autism audit by some of the leading autism experts in the world. Beaches Resorts was the first hospitality group in the world to complete autism training and certification on all of their family-friendly properties and now holds CAC designation in each of their Kid’s Camps.
“Beaches Resorts are designed for everyone, and we are honored to become the first, all-inclusive luxury resort brand in the world to become a CAC and join the Autism Travel community,” said Chief Operating Officer, Shawn Dacosta of Sandals Resorts International. “We’ve seen an interest in families with children on the spectrum looking for the perfect Caribbean vacation. Now, because of the IBCCES certification, they can vacation with confidence knowing that our kids camps (and beyond) have the proper training and accreditation to care for their children,” Dacosta concluded.
Certified travel organizations have also committed to ongoing training and development to make sure they offer the best service and programming for individuals on the spectrum for all ages. Activities and excursions will offer a Sensory Guide™ rating and review, which will allow parents and participants to better understand what the activity entails and how it may affect an individual with ASD. This rating review is performed by therapists and autism experts and will be offered at participating resorts and destinations to ensure a more confident, safe and enjoyable experience.
“Thanks to the IBCCES team for ensuring that destinations worldwide are trained and certified so that people with autism and their families can enjoy vacations staffed by individuals who understand and care about those on the spectrum,” said Dr. Stephen Shore, a professor at Adelphi University, author, and international autism speaker.
In addition to IBCCES certified therapists, travel professionals and travel tools, the Autism Travel parent community is where parents can interact and share stories and experiences with other parents of children with ASD.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behavior that affects 1:68 children worldwide. All autism and sensory friendly resources and destinations available on the AutismTravel.com website are aware of social engagement and environmental factors affecting people on the autism spectrum, and have incorporated modifications to communication methods and physical space to better suit individual’s unique and special needs.