The Fort Worth Zoo has earned a Certified Autism Center designation after completing an autism-specific training and review process in order to better serve guests.
According to the Fort Worth Zoo, the zoo has made a commitment to ensure all visitors, including those with autism and other sensory needs, have an good experience.
The designation is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to organizations that have met the necessary qualifications and completed the training and review process.
"We're pleased to be counted among a growing number of institutions that are Certified Autism Centers," Michael Fouraker, Fort Worth Zoo Executive Director, said. "Our zoo offers many inroads to creativity and discovery, and we're pleased to add another means of accessibility. We hope this will further increase our audiences while making the Zoo even more usable and available."
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The Fort Worth Zoo said individuals and families with children on the autism spectrum can find it difficult to choose attractions and recreational opportunities due to uncertainty about how they will be received and the accommodations available to them.
The Fort Worth Zoo is the first zoo in Texas to become Certified Autism Center.
"We believe it is essential that all individuals can experience the world around them in a safe and welcoming way," Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman, said. "Our Certified Autism Center designation is awarded to organizations who are committed to completing rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards, as well as an ongoing commitment to enhancing accessibility."
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards has been focused on cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals for more than 20 years.
Recognizing that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel and recreation options, IBCCES has created training and certification programs specifically for attractions, hotels, zoos, aquariums, and other recreational locations.
IBCCES is the only credentialing organization that provides this certification, which includes evidence-based information, the perspectives of individuals with autism, onsite reviews, customized recommendations, and renewal requirements to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact.