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April 24, 2024 , Beaches Resorts, Kids Activities & Programs

An Enduring Commitment to Enhancing Accessibility: Beaches® Resorts Receive Recertification as an Advanced Certified Autism Center™

Together with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the family-friendly all-inclusive Beaches Resorts proudly announces the renewal of its Advanced Certified Autism Center™ (ACAC) designation. Awarded by the IBCCES to organizations that complete advanced training requirements and offer accommodations for autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors, Beaches remains the only hospitality organization in the world to hold the rigorous ACAC certification, fostering a nurturing environment of inclusivity and family connection under the Caribbean sun. 

The ACAC designation is the next level of certification once an organization has achieved the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) certification – underscoring that the beloved family resort brand has gone above and beyond to train its staff and provide substantial modifications for visitors with autism or similar sensory needs, with designations are granted by the IBCCES.

The ACAC certification process entails a variety of important aspects, including:

  • In-depth training on autism sensitivity and awareness in the areas of communication, sensory impacts, motor skills, social skills, environment awareness, emotional awareness, early childhood identification, autistic perspectives, and more
  • Activities and accommodations that must be available for autistic guests
  • An annual onsite audit and review which provides for sensory guides for interactive areas as well as other feedback and enhancements to existing programs and processes
  • Protocols and physical space to accommodate various needs

 Thoughtful Vacationing Planning, From Start to End 

Beaches Resorts offers personalized vacation planning and on-resort programming across all resorts for families with neurodivergent travelers. In addition to the support of more than 1500 certified Beaches’ travel advisors, a pre-arrival questionnaire allows Beaches' Special Services Team to recommend experiences and advise on specific room locations to limit stimuli and identify low-sensory zones. Together with the IBCCES, Beaches has also curated resort-wide sensory guides that rate areas on a one-to-10 scale of sensory stimulation, including pools, activity centers, water parks, and more. On site, Beaches Buddies offer one-on-one care helping families navigate activities as complex as snorkeling or as simple as sandcastle building alongside sensory-sensitive members. An expert culinary concierge creates custom menus factoring in allergy and dietary restrictions.

Above and Beyond Experiences 

A unique partnership with Sesame Workshop gives way to programming like Amazing Art with Julia, an open-ended art activity where kids can explore, experiment, and create using a wide range of materials alongside Julia, a sweet and curious 4-year-old Sesame Street character with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Beaches will also celebrate its second Annual Beaches Autism All-Inclusive Week at Beaches Negril from September 22-29, bringing together a community of guests with similar needs for unique programming, tableside chats with experts, and much more—all with a dedicated Beaches Buddy per family.

“As a family-owned brand, Beaches is wholeheartedly committed to creating a vacation setting where all guests can thrive. For families with neurodivergent travelers, what may seem like a simple travel decision can shape the entire course of their family vacation, and we know how coveted of a time that is,” said Heather Effs, Sandals Resorts International’s Corporate Manager of Entertainment Operations. “Becoming the first resort company in the world to be certified as an Advanced Certified Autism Center marked an enduring commitment to neurodivergent travelers and their families, whom we proudly welcome, oftentimes year after year, to make memories and even celebrate milestones at Beaches.” 

With more than two decades of expertise in cognitive disorder training and certification, IBCCES has emerged as a global leader in providing specialized education for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals. Recognizing the need for tailored programs in hospitality and recreational settings, IBCCES has developed comprehensive training initiatives tailored to organizations such as hotels, theme parks, museums, and attractions. These initiatives aim to equip staff with the necessary knowledge and tools to cater to the needs of this often overlooked segment of the community. Additionally, IBCCES has developed AutismTravel.com, a free online resource connecting families to certified destinations.

“Beaches Resorts has gone above and beyond to lead the hospitality industry toward a more inclusive future for all families seeking unforgettable vacations tailored to their needs,” said Myron, Board Chairman of IBCCES. “By renewing the ACAC certification, Beaches continues its commitment to ensuring families can make memories and have life-changing experiences in a welcoming environment.”

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