Zoo Miami becomes Florida's first Certified Autism Center zoo

by

comment
IMAGE VIA TWITTER | MDCPS
  • Image via Twitter | MDCPS
As we gain more awareness and understanding of autism, more attractions are attempting to improve how they accommodate those with varied sensory needs. Partnering with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), Zoo Miami recently became the first zoo in the state named a Certified Autism Center by the organization.

Staff at the zoo went through special autism awareness training, and an audit was performed to identify whether the zoo can become more welcoming to guests on the autism spectrum.



“Zoo Miami aims to provide each guest with an enjoyable visit and is proud to be designated as a certified autism center. Our staff has undergone training to be able to better serve guests with autism and other special needs,” says Carol Kruse, Zoo Miami director, in a statement.

Sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones and stress/fidget toys will be available to guests. Sensory Guides are also being designed that will identify quiet areas and possible triggers around the zoo.



Legoland Florida began offering similar sensory accommodations earlier this year, while Disney, previously a leader in the field, has faced multiple lawsuits as it tries to accommodate guests with autism.

Across the industry, there have been significant strides in recent years to best address the needs of certain guests while providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all. Earlier this year SeaWorld-owned Sesame Place became the first theme park in the world to be a Certified Autism Center by the IBCCES. SeaWorld’s zoological director, Kelly Flaherty Clark, also serves on the IBCCES Advisory Board.

“We believe it’s important to ensure all guests can experience the world around them in a safe way,” says Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Our Certified Autism Center designation is awarded to premier organizations who have completed rigorous training and meet the highest industry standards, and we’re so excited to work with Zoo Miami on this initiative.”

Zoo Miami’s autism accommodations and awareness training will take place over the next few months, with a goal of being completely rolled out  ahead of Autism Awareness Month in April.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.