The Mall of America and its Nickelodeon Universe theme park have been named as a certified autism center, the first destination in Minnesota to achieve the designation, according to the mall.
 
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards required that at least 80 percent of guest-facing staff at the mall and its seven-acre amusement park complete the organization’s sensitivity and awareness training.
 
The Bloomington mall, the nation’s largest, was required to take steps to make the area more accessible for those with autism and to provide sensory guides for each ride.
 
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, or IBCCES, is considered an  industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe.
 
Because families with children who have special needs often have limited travel options, the organization designed training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.
 
“Our goal is to ensure families with children on the spectrum have the same opportunities to experience attractions and new destinations as anyone else,” Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman, said in a statement. “Our certified autism center designation is awarded to industry leaders who are paving the way to make sure they are welcoming these individuals and are choosing to complete a third-party, evidence-based process to ensure they are prepared.”
 
Jill Renslow, the Mall of America’s senior vice president of business development, said in a statement that the certification process now ensures that employees have “the knowledge and skills to communicate and assist those with sensory sensitivities in the most positive and effective way.”
 
A list of certified destinations and other family resources is available at AutismTravel.com.
 

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