May 11, 2023, KESQ, Thousand Palms, CA: ‘Certified Autism Centers’ offer inclusivity options for Coachella Valley families https://kesq.com/news/2023/05/11/certified-autism-centers-offer-inclusivity-options-for-coachella-valley-families/
Visit Greater Palm Springs is encouraging Coachella Valley businesses to become Certified Autism Centers as part of an initiative to become more inclusive.
To become a certified autism center, 80% of a business's staff need to take a 30-minute online training course that helps staff understand how to communicate with those who have autism.
“It really is about inclusivity," said Lauren Bruggemans from Visit Greater Palm Springs. "It’s about making sure that all members in our community feel accepted.”
The certification comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens was the first local attraction in the Coachella Valley to become certified.
“It’s part of our effort to make sure we are 100% inclusive," explained Allen Monroe, the President/CEO of Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. "That we can meet the needs of all the guests that come visit our park.”
At the zoo, those with autism can head to guest services and check out sensory bags. The bags can be filled with several sensory items including headphones, sunglasses, fidgets, etc.
The Rancho Mirage Library is the second location offering safe spaces and items for those who visit the library.
Visit Greater Palm Springs said several other locations like JW Marriott, and Children's Museum of the Desert have committed to becoming Certified Autism Centers.
It hopes more businesses join in on the cause so help the Coachella Valley become a Certified Autism Destination.