In honour of Autism Acceptance Month, Beaches Resorts has announced that it has expanded its commitment to families with children on the autism spectrum. The company aims to ensure a safe, fun and inclusive vacation experience that’s tailored to all children staying at the resort.
Building upon an existing partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification – Beaches Resorts has extended its Advanced Certified Autism Centre (ACAC) accreditation through 2023.
Through the ACAC recertification process, Beaches Resorts’ team members in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos will be eligible to participate in advanced autism training virtually, with an emphasis on the resorts’ key touch point areas, including kids camps, entertainment, front desk/reception, food and beverage and watersport operations.
This recertification process will also expand to the training of team members at the Airport Arrival Lounge/Reception Area in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, which offer the first point of contact for Beaches Resorts’ arriving guests.
Sensory Stimulation Guide
Beaches Resorts, in collaboration with IBCCES, will also launch a Sensory Stimulation Guide for guests with sensory needs, providing an understanding of what to expect in each designated area of the resort. The guide, which outlines the degree of sensory stimulation in a specific area or event, allows families to plan and navigate their visit based on their individual needs.
Designated Low Sensory Areas will also be identified at all resorts, allowing guests to find comfort in designated spaces should they need a break from sensory stimulation. These locations will be identifiable through resort maps, onsite signage and in pre-travel planning materials.
“As the first resort company in the world to attain the distinguished ACAC credentials, we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished to-date and look forward to findings new ways to demonstrate our commitment to autism acceptance and inclusion while creating an autism-friendly environment,” said Joel Ryan, Group Manager Themed Entertainment and Children’s Activities.
“As the best-in-class, luxury vacation experience, we have always strived for an inclusive experience that allows parents to have confidence in selecting our resorts, knowing their children can feel comfortable and safe, have fun and make lifelong memories.”
What Is Included In ACAC Recertification
- In-depth education for Beaches Resorts staff, with 40 credit hours on autism sensitivity and awareness, centered on communication, motor skills, social skills, environment awareness, emotional awareness, bullying, early childhood identification, transition to adulthood, and more.
- Advanced training with particular emphasis on the company’s Kids Camps, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Front Desk/Reception and Water sports operations.
- An optional service of ‘One-on-One Beaches Buddy’ providing personalized, private childcare with a buddy who is autism certified, and can be pre-booked for a nominal fee.
- A dedicated toll-free number to Beaches’ Special Services Team, certified by IBCCES, and able to assist both consumers and travel professionals who wish to learn more about a Beaches vacation and on resort autism programming.
- A Culinary Concierge program to support specific dietary restrictions and special requests.
- Modified check-in options for private, in-room, check-in.
- Availability of sensory toys as well as DreamPad pillows for children’s use.
- Modified design and decoration in Kids Camps and key entertainment areas to create a more sensory-friendly environment.
“Beaches Resorts is ‘walking the walk’ in this space and while they are humble about their efforts to serve the autism community, it’s important to note that they were the first travel company to do it, and do it right!” said Holly Robinson Peete, actress, activist and philanthropist.
“With first-hand experience as the mom of a child (RJ) with autism, this space is near and dear to me, and inclusive travel on this scale is rare. I continue to applaud Beaches Resorts – and return with my family – as it’s truly a place where we all feel welcome and can relax and enjoy quality time together” Robinson Peete concluded.
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