Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to become a Certified Autism Center™. This collaboration aims to ensure that autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals can visit with confidence.
“This certification is just one way we are working to ensure that Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is accessible to each of our guests,” said Therrin Protze, COO, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “The extensive autism sensitivity and awareness training our staff has undergone has already impacted the way we interact with all families and children with of all abilities, but specifically those with autism and other sensory sensitivities.”
To complete this certification, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex team completed training to better understand and welcome autistic or sensory-sensitive visitors. IBCCES conducted an onsite review to provide additional ways the visitor complex can accommodate visitors, as well as provided sensory guide signage for each exhibit to help guests prepare for their visit.
Many autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals face challenges when visiting new places or planning family trips due to a lack of staff training and understanding, potential sensory overload, or a need for flexible options and accommodations. Recognizing this need, IBCCES has developed training and certification programs for attractions, museums, hotels, zoos, aquariums, and other entertainment venues. These programs ensure that all families and individuals, regardless of their sensory needs or sensitivities, can have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
In the United States alone, 1 in 6 people have sensory needs or sensitivities, and 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism. As a result, the demand for trained and certified options has reached an all-time high.
As a Certified Autism Center™, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will provide the following features and services to ensure an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all guests:
- Trained and Knowledgeable Team Members: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's front-line team members completed specialized training to better assist autistic guests and individuals with sensory sensitivities. Equipped with the necessary skills and understanding, these team members will ensure that every visitor feels supported and accommodated.
- On-site Sensory Guidance: Sensory guidance signage has been strategically placed throughout the visitor complex, making it easier for individuals and families to plan activities that align with their specific needs and preferences. These signs will include ratings for each sense and detailed information on how each area may impact sensory experiences.
- Designated Low Sensory Areas: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will designate specific areas where guests with sensory sensitivities can take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment. These safe spaces offer respite from potential sensory overload, allowing individuals to recharge and continue enjoying their visit.
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Sensory Guide: An updated Sensory Guide will be available on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex website, on the app and at Guest Services, Information and Will Call. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed information about additional accommodations and options available to visitors, ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy the center's offerings.
Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman, said "IBCCES is honored to partner with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to help more families create treasured memories and enjoy all the amazing experiences the visitor complex has to offer. Addressing this global need for more accessibility is critical, and we’re proud to provide comprehensive support and certification, working alongside our industry partners to lead the way."
Since 2001, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, entertainment and corporate professionals worldwide. As the only credentialing organization offering this type of certification, IBCCES provides evidence-based training, incorporating the perspectives of autistic individuals, alongside other valuable tools and resources such as onsite reviews and customized recommendations. The certification program's renewal requirements ensure a long-term commitment to creating a lasting impact.
In addition to its certification programs, IBCCES created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for families. This platform lists certified destinations and connects families to other relevant resources and communities. Every destination featured on AutismTravel.com has met the requirements of the Certified Autism Center™ credential.