Arts and Cultural Centers, Parks and Recreation Department and Dobson Ranch Library Renew Certification, Continue to Support Mesa's Autism Certified City Initiative

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~ The City of Mesa, Arizona is proud to announce that five of its arts and cultural centers have been recertified as Certified Autism Centers (CAC). The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) requires staff to complete a training and certification program in order to better understand and welcome guests and their families that are autistic or sensory-sensitive.

The five organizations that have achieved this certification are the Arizona Museum of Natural History, i.d.e.a. Museum, Mesa Arts Center, Mesa Public Library's Dobson Ranch branch, and Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. As part of the certification process, IBCCES conducted an onsite review of each center to provide additional recommendations on how they can accommodate visitors.

"The Mesa Department of Arts and Culture is devoted to continuously improving the accessibility and inclusiveness of our facilities and programs," said Cindy Ornstein, director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa. "To this end, making our organizations as open and welcoming to those on the Autism spectrum is very important to us, and we are extremely proud to achieve our recertification as Autism-friendly institutions."

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Each organization has implemented various measures in order to make their facilities more accessible for those with autism or sensory sensitivities. These include designated sensory rooms, providing visitors with sensory bags upon request, utilizing social stories, offering virtual tours, participating in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program which provides discreet support for guests with disabilities that may not be apparent, noise-canceling headphones at the Arizona Museum of Natural History, light-sensitivity glasses at i.d.e.a Museum., larger designated sensory spaces for festivals at Mesa Arts Center, incorporating IBCCES ideals into storytimes at Dobson Ranch Library ,and providing a range of activities such as weekly sports classes social events summer camps for people with developmental disabilities at Parks Recreation Community Facilities .

In 2019 Mesa became the first ever Autism Certified City (ACC), also designated by IBCCES . This designation means that visitors and residents have access to organizations in healthcare public safety education hospitality entertainment recreation workplaces that are trained certified to be more understanding welcoming individuals autism sensory-sensitive . The initiative was championed by Visit Mesa quickly gained support from all areas community .

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Myron Pincomb IBCCES board chairman said "IBCCES excited continue partner Arizona Museum Natural History i.d.e.a Museum Mesa Arts Center partners surrounding Mesa joined Autism Certified City initiative .Mesa leader champion taking steps be inclusive accessible millions autistic individuals families . Our programs designed provide long-term support sustainability ensure partners continue stay date best practices tools needed better accommodate guest needs ."

For more than 20 years IBCCES has been leader cognitive disorder training certification healthcare education public safety travel corporate professionals around globe . IBCCES created programs specifically hospitality recreational organizations hotels theme parks attractions staff knowledgeable accommodations offered growing underserved part community . IBCCES only credentialing board offering types programs include training subject matter experts autistic self-advocates long-term support continuous learning onsite reviews more .

IBCCES also created AutismTravel com free online resource families lists certified options connects other resources Each location listed site met Certified Autism Center TM CAC requirements

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