Autism Acceptance Month | Visit Mesa

Posted By Visit Mesa Team
April 02, 2024

Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Read more below to learn about Visit Mesa's initiatives and efforts to creating an inclusive destination.

What is Autism Acceptance Month? Annually, organizations like Visit Mesa celebrate Autism Acceptance Month throughout the month of April. It is an especially great time to recognize and celebrate those within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community. This year, the Autism Society focuses on acceptance, as acceptance has created a solid community where those in the Autism community can feel supported and connected.

Visit Mesa & IBCCES:
On November 18, 2019, Mesa became the first-ever Autism Certified City in the U.S., designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), making travel planning easier for families with loved one(s) on the spectrum.

Visit Mesa has partnered with IBCCES to introduce the path to Certification process to our partners. IBCCES is setting the standard for autism (and other cognitive disorders) certifications as the only known organization focused on the hospitality/travel industry. Their key insights, paired with their Autism Travel nationwide presence, will help our partners better understand the ASD community and their growing need for autism-certified travel destinations, attractions, and hotels. By accomplishing certification, families affected by ASD can trust Mesa as a dedicated tourism destination serving individuals with autism.

What is an Autism Certification?
Several Visit Mesa Partner businesses are now CAC’s –Certified Autism Centers. This designation illustrates to those families affected by ASD that they can trust Mesa as a dedicated tourism destination serving individuals with autism. Certification is achieved when at least 80% of guest-facing staff is trained and certified in the field of autism. Through IBCCES and Autism Travel, Mesa and our partners are now part of a network of trusted travel professionals already serving the ASD community.

Numerous visitor-related businesses and organizations in Mesa, the city’s regional footprint, have completed autism training. This includes Mesa Parks, City of Mesa museums, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, police and fire departments, and several other non-profits. Several businesses also participated in IBCCES audits and have developed sensory guides to further improve experiences for individuals with autism.

Why is supported Autism travel important?
With a 600% increase in autism diagnoses in the U.S., autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. Visit Mesa is committed to serving this growing audience of potential visitors. Visit Mesa and our governing Board of Directors believe certification is a great step towards better serving this growing, yet underserved community.

Visit Mesa’s Extended Efforts:
Beyond Visit Mesa and its partner’s IBCCES and CAC certifications, other efforts have been made within Mesa to further this overall initiative. These efforts include a specialized Geocache tour, CAC’s, and special accommodations to create an overall better travel experience for those affected by Autism.

Other Accommodations:
Visit Mesa and other Autism-certified businesses in Mesa understand that traveling deems varying requirements for different groups of travelers. Check out these Autism-certified accommodations and dining options, all within Mesa. Additionally, several attractions offer alternative options for those affected by Autism to better enjoy the same experience. For example, Mesa Arts Center offers low-sensory or quiet rooms for its guests, among other businesses in City Limitless. See an updated listing of CAC businesses here.

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