3. Training for an autism-friendly welcome – Mesa, Arizona

Some 87% of families with autistic children don’t take holidays, according to a survey by Autism Travel, yet would if more autism-certified options were available. That’s why in 2019, Mesa became the first Autism-Certified City in the US. It means that local hospitality businesses are encouraged to take up training in how to better meet the needs of autistic travellers. Local attractions that are now qualified as Certified Autism Centres include the Arizona Museum of Natural History, Mesa Arts Center and Mesa Riverview Park (pictured). 

Staff learn about the most supportive responses they can offer in certain situations, and many of the eateries and hotels involved in the scheme offer supportive services such as noise-cancelling headphones and quiet spaces for families to go when sensory overload strikes.

“Our certification has helped our team and our partners better understand the autistic community and their growing need for autism-certified travel destinations,” says Zoey Shircel, Visit Mesa’s communications manager.

Visit Mesa’s other accessibility programmes include Aira, a guided visual interpretation service, a programme to help people recognise hidden disabilities, 360 virtual tours and Wheel the World, an inclusive online booking platform for travellers with disabilities.”

Image: Visit Mesa
Main image: GoVilnius

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