SeaWorld Orlando is officially a Certified Autism Center. Planning a vacation as an autism family just got easier.
SeaWorld Orlando announced their certification from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) on April 2, 2019, which is World Autism Day. IBCCES is an international leader in autism certification for professionals in a variety of industries.
The Aquatica Water Park at SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove have both already received their autism certification as well.
SeaWorld Orlando encompasses an assortment of rides and shows, and also now includes Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando.
What does this certification mean, exactly? It means the park has a variety of tools and resources to help autism families maximize their enjoyment of the park while minimizing stress.
The staff at SeaWorld have all undergone training through IBCCES so that they have the special “knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to cater to all children, including those with special needs,” according to SeaWorld’s website. There are trained in multiple areas, including an overview of autism, communication skills, and emotional and social awareness. Employees repeat their training every two years.
All the rides and attractions are given sensory stimulation rankings for each of the five senses, on a scale of 1-10. That information and more is broken down in a Sensory Guide available for families that can aid in their planning.
SeaWorld Orlando also has autism-friendly features like a Ride Accessibility Program (RAP) so that guests with disabilities are able to enjoy the park without having to physically wait in line; Quiet Rooms where guests can relax and have some calm time away from the crowds; and a Low Sensory Area that is less stimulating than other areas of the park.
Even some of the restrooms are autism-friendly. At various locations throughout the park, Companion/Family Assist restrooms are available, with manual flush toilets instead of automated ones.
SeaWorld also offers noise-cancelling headphones for the day for those who need them. You can check them out at the Information Center, and they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We want to create lasting memories for all our guests,” said Mark Pauls, SeaWorld Orlando park president. “As families start planning their summer travel, the resources and tools that our parks now offer can provide peace of mind for families with members that have autism and other special needs. Our parks and staff are now equipped to offer families inclusive activities, helping to ensure meaningful experiences for everyone.”
We’re so glad to see places like SeaWorld becoming autism-friendly!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.