SeaWorld Orlando is the latest Orlando theme park to become a certified autism center.
The theme park joins Aquatic Orlando and Discovery Cove as a certified autism center, making them the first family of parks in the world to be certified. SeaWorld was designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
“We are incredibly proud to be the first family of Orlando theme parks to achieve these certifications,” said Mark Pauls, SeaWorld Orlando park president in a statement. “We want to create lasting memories for all our guests. As families start planning their summer travel, the resources and tools that our parks now offer can provide peace of mind for families with members that have autism and other special needs. Our parks and staff are now equipped to offer families inclusive activities, helping to ensure meaningful experiences for everyone.”
As a Certified Autism Center, SeaWorld Orlando will provide ongoing training to ensure its team members have the knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with families and children with special needs.
Employees are trained in the areas of sensory awareness, communication, motor skills, social skills, program development, and emotional awareness. They must also take a comprehensive autism competency exam. The training must be complete every two years to maintain the certification.
In addition to in-house training, SeaWorld Orlando has updated their website to include pre-visit planning resources, including a park specific sensory guide developed by IBCCES. The sensory guide offers insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction.
Guests can also take a break from the hustle and bustle of the theme park in a new designated quiet space in SeaWorld's new Sesame Street Land. The area includes adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating. There is an additional quiet space near the front of the park.