Sun | May 16, 2021
In celebration of Autism Acceptance Month

Beaches Resorts becoming more inclusive

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 12:11 AM
Holly Robinson Peete (left) and Julia at Beaches Resorts.
Holly Robinson Peete (left) and Julia at Beaches Resorts.
Actress and autism activist, Holly Robinson Peete enjoys a stay at Beaches Resorts alongside Julia, a muppet with autism that provides on-resort activities for those with sensory disorders.
Actress and autism activist, Holly Robinson Peete enjoys a stay at Beaches Resorts alongside Julia, a muppet with autism that provides on-resort activities for those with sensory disorders.
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In honour of Autism Acceptance Month, Beaches Resorts has announced its expanded commitment to families with children on the autism spectrum, ensuring a safe, fun and comfortable vacation experience that’s tailored to their needs. With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism in the United States, special-needs travel continues to be one of the fastest growing family travel segments and one that is severely underserved.

Building upon an existing partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – the global leader in cognitive disorder training and certification – Beaches Resorts has extended its Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) accreditation through 2023 and continues to be the world’s first and only ACAC resort company, underscoring its dedication to ensuring every family can enjoy the award-winning, luxury-included vacation experience.

Through this ACAC recertification process, over the next several months Beaches Resorts’ team members in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos will be eligible to participate in advanced autism training virtually, with an emphasis on the resorts’ key touch point areas, including kids camps, entertainment, front desk/reception, food and beverage and watersports operations. This recertification process will also expand to the training of team members at the airport arrival lounge/reception area in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, which offer the first point of contact for Beaches Resorts’ arriving guests.

Sensory stimulation guide

The all-inclusive family resort company, in collaboration with IBCCES, will also launch a sensory stimulation guide for guests with sensory needs, providing comfort and an understanding of what to expect in each designated area of the resort. The guide, which outlines the degree of sensory stimulation in a specific area or event, allows families to easily plan and navigate their visit based on their individual needs. Designated low-sensory areas will also be identified at all resorts, allowing guests to find comfort in designated spaces should they need a break from sensory stimulation. These locations will be easily identifiable through resort maps, on-site signage and in pre-travel planning materials.

“As the first resort company in the world to attain the distinguished ACAC credentials, we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished to date, and look forward to findings new ways to demonstrate our commitment to autism acceptance and inclusion while creating an autism-friendly environment,” said Joel Ryan, group manager, themed entertainment and children’s activities. “As the best-in-class luxury vacation experience, we have always strived for an inclusive experience that allows parents to have confidence in selecting our resorts, knowing their children can feel comfortable and safe, have fun and make lifelong memories.”

In 2017, Beaches Resorts became the first resort company in the world to be recognised by IBCCES as a Certified Autism Center and, as part of their larger Sesame Street partnership, also introduced Julia, a four-year-old girl on the autism spectrum, who brought an exclusive new activity to Beaches Resorts: Amazing Art with Julia. Two years later, the resort company then became the first to attain the ACAC, recognised by IBCCES.

“Like the rest of the world, we know families and autistic individuals are looking forward to travelling, visiting new places, and making new memories as soon as they are able to. They are also looking for organisations that are trained and certified in autism, particularly leaders like Beaches Resorts, who go above and beyond,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman and CEO. “The professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the team at Beaches Resorts is second to none, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership to provide long-lasting support and impact.”