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Lynchburg, VA: Museum becomes "Certified Autism Center"; first in state

April 30, 2023, WFXR TV, Lynchburg, VA: Amazement Square becomes Virginia’s first museum to earn Certified Autism Center recognition

Many children with autism may sometimes find it challenging to visit new places, but one Museum is hoping to make families feel more comfortable.

With the assistance of the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) has named Lynchburg’s very own, Amazement Square as a Certified Autism Center (CAC). This museum marks the first to become a CAC in the Commonwealth.

“Since its inception, one of the guiding principles of Amazement Square has been inclusivity and accessibility. The Museum’s ‘Everyone is Special’ program reflects our commitment to and appreciation for people of all abilities and backgrounds,” said Mort Sajadian President/CEO of Amazement Square.

Amazement Square is an award-winning and interactive museum located in Downtown Lynchburg. Visitors have the chance to take a walk through ‘Shipwreck Cove’, mingle through the ‘Emmy Lou Thomas Big Red Barn,’ paint the wall of the ‘Helene P. Schewel Kaleidoscope Gallery,’ and more. The museum consists of over 10 exhibits for visitors to explore.

Board of Chairman of IBCCES Myron Pincomb shares that they are excited to partner with the Amazement Square team to help enhance their knowledge and ability to help serve autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors. …

According to IBCCES, autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals may find it difficult to visit somewhere new or plan family vacations due to the lack of staff training. In response, the company created training for certification programs for hotels, zoos, aquariums, museums, and more.

The certification process includes completing a series of training covering numerous topics including sensor awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness. IBCCES also conducts an on-site review to provide details guidelines on how each exhibit can accommodate visitors.

“Becoming a Certified Autism Center is a significant undertaking by Amazement Square, and it will strengthen the Museum’s ‘Everyone is Special’ and outreach school program, which is a wonderful educational resource for our community and schools,” said Teresa L. Brennan, MD, Autism and Developmental Services at Centra Autism and Developmental Services Clinic.


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