Discovery Cove worked alongside the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to complete a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training. An onsite review of the park property and guest experience was also conducted and upon completion, Discovery Cove is now a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as declared by IBCCES. This distinction makes Discovery Cove the first CAC certified all-inclusive day resort and animal interaction park in the U.S.
Kyle Miller, President of Discover Cove, spoke about this new certification saying:
“Discovery Cove has long been recognized for its adventure-filled yet relaxed environment with a variety of open, clear spaces that make attractions and services more accessible and reduces sensory overload for guests with cognitive disorders. Autism certification is a natural step for us as we continue to create safe and meaningful experiences for all of our guests. We have seen how well received this certification has been at our Sesame Place and Aquatica Orlando parks, and we are committed in our efforts to offer families inclusive activities for children with autism and other special needs.”
So what will this entail? As a Certified Autism Center, Discovery Cove will now provide ongoing training for all team members to ensure they have the knowledge and expertise to work with families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum. Training will focus on communication, environment, sensory awareness, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness.
According to Myron Pincomb, Board Chairman of IBCCES, “We’re thrilled to see the commitment and enthusiasm of the team at Discovery Cove and its sister parks in serving guests on the spectrum and with sensory sensitivities. Certification and review are so important to ensure all guests feel welcomed and safe in these environments. This should be the industry standard, and we’re working with leaders in the field to make that happen.”
Discovery Cove will add planning resources to the park’s website including a sensory guide developed by IBCCES which will aid parents in planning a stress free and enjoyable park experience for their child’s specific needs.
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Pincomb stated that,“Having a comprehensive resource that allows families to plan their day and avoid the element of surprise is vital. Understanding what the park offers, from its experiences to available food selections, helps in making their day a success.”
The park will also feature a quiet space with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests who made need a break. Discovery Cove is a day resort park where guests have the opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among tropical fish, and other special animal interactions.