News Article Details

SeaWorld's Discovery Cove gets autism-friendly certification

Orlando Sentinel - 2/19/2019

Feb. 19--SeaWorld's Discovery Cove has become the company's second park in Orlando to receive certification deeming it friendly for autistic customers, it said Tuesday.

Discovery Cove, which allows customers up-close interaction with dolphins and marine life, follows SeaWorld's Aquatica waterpark in getting the distinction as a "Certified Autism Center," meaning employees take additional training to help individuals with autism and their families.

The certification comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. Since the autism spectrum is broad, the training is meant to help workers identify how each attraction may affect an autistic individuals' sensory, physical social and emotional challenges.

The park also will have a quiet place with adjustable lighting and comfortable seating for guests to take a break. Among the changes at Aquatica are autism education signs that outline the stimulation levels for many parts of the park.

"Discovery Cove has long been recognized for its adventure-filled yet relaxed environment with a variety of open, clear spaces that make attractions and services more accessible and reduces sensory overload for guests with cognitive disorders," said a statement from Kyle Miller, President of Discovery Cove. "Autism certification is a natural step for us as we continue to create safe and meaningful experiences for all of our guests."

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment's Sesame Place in Pennsylvania is also a Certified Autism Center.

"This should be the industry standard, and we're working with leaders in the field to make that happen," said IBCCES chairman Myron Pincomb in a statement.

Got a news tip? karnold@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5664; Twitter, @kylelarnold or facebook.com/bykylearnold

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