VISALIA, Calif., Sept. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Visit Visalia is California's first destination marketing organization designated a "Certified Autism Center" by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This new distinction expands the team's readiness to assist families and individuals with special needs to prepare for and to enjoy inclusive and accessible travel to Visalia and the nearby Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. The designation was awarded as a result of the organization's staff and governing board of directors completing specialized training in common behaviors and sensory considerations associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD.)
"Visit Visalia is excited to be a leader in California's tourism industry by investing in training that enables us to better serve travelers with autism," said Nellie Freeborn, executive director of Visit Visalia. "As a parent of a child with autism, I know the challenges that families are faced with when traveling and I am delighted we stand ready to help."
Autism diagnoses are on the rise each year on the rise with about 1 in 54 children identified as having ASD according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. 1 in 6 people have sensory needs and millions of adults are on the spectrum but undiagnosed. With this training, Visit Visalia can better serve this growing, yet underserved community that represents 32 million trip each year and provide its visitors a "spectrum of travel possibilities."
The announcement by Visit Visalia of the designation and the programs now in place was supported by the presence of Clay Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Amber Rich, director of engagement at Visit California. Each spoke about the positive impact this initiative will have to travelers with special needs both here in Visalia and throughout the state. An accessibility guide was recently released by the local national parks that details how travelers with special needs can experience the parks. Visit California's mission is to attract visitors from around the globe to California. Their "What if" campaign reaches out to travelers with the messaging that "all dreams are welcome" in the golden state, including those of travelers with special needs.
"We are not done," said Superintendent Clay Jordan. "But, the list of accessible opportunities grows longer every year." He praised all the efforts being done collectively to make this a destination that everybody can enjoy regardless of physical limitations or where you are on the spectrum.
"Visit Visalia is proud to provide memorable experiences to all families visiting Visalia and our nearby National Parks. This important designation will let individuals with special needs travel with confidence knowing we have completed this specialized training and can provide a positive vacation experience," said Nellie Freeborn.
Visit Visalia is also initiating a movement with the help of IBCCES to become a Certified Autism Destination (CAD.) The CAD designation is awarded to destinations where key community areas, including hotels, museums, attractions, entertainment venues, and other tourism organizations are trained and certified to better serve autistic individuals and those with other sensory disorders. Visit Visalia's team is taking the first steps to help build a more inclusive community.
IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe for 20 years. Florida-based IBCCES created training and certification programs after recognizing that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options.
"IBCCES is excited to be a part of Visit Visalia's initiative to better serve autistic individuals and their families. Organizations like Visit Visalia are vital to creating more inclusive communities for residents and visitors alike," said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
For more information on inclusive and accessible travel to our city and including the nearby Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, go to visitvisalia.com/accessible-travel
ABOUT VISIT VISALIA:
Visit Visalia is a collaboration of the Visalia Tourism and Marketing District and the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB) dedicated to marketing, advertising, public relations and other promotional efforts that inspire travel to the City of Visalia. Visit Visalia works closely with local lodging properties, restaurants and attractions to foster interest in Visalia as a year-round destination for leisure, family, and meeting and convention travelers. For more information about Visit Visalia go to www.VisitVisalia.com and follow Visit Visalia on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Pinterest.
Delivering the Global Standard for Training and Certification in the Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are the only training and certification programs endorsed by the largest grassroots autism organization in the world, The Autism Society of America, and recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.
SOURCE Visit Visalia