Beaches Resorts are leading the family travel industry to a more inclusive future by going to extra special lengths to welcome families with autism
For children and adults on the autistic spectrum, a family holiday can be a stressful prospect, not least because it means a break from the daily routine. Across the travel industry, holiday companies are waking up to the extra challenges that travellers with autism face. Now, Beaches Resorts has become the first resort company in the world to be declared an Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
The certification spans across all three Beaches Resorts – Beaches Negril Beach Resort & Spa and Beaches Ocho Rios Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort in Jamaica, and Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in Turks & Caicos. It focuses mainly on the resorts’ kids camps, entertainment and watersports, although staff from other areas of the resorts have also been trained.
The ACAC certification underscores that Beaches has gone above and beyond to train staff and to provide significant modifications for visitors with autism or similar sensory needs. The modifications apply to many aspects of the holiday, including pre-travel. The special services include the option of a ‘one-on-one Beaches buddy’ – private, personalised childcare with an IBCCES-certified buddy. There’s also a special pre-travel questionnaire to identify requests and preferences and a Special Services team to assist families in planning their holiday.
Modified check-in, sensory toys and special quiet spaces are available, while the resorts’ kids clubs and family entertainment areas have been modified to create more sensory-friendly environments. A Culinary Concierge program is in place to support specific dietary restrictions.
Beaches Resorts’ watersports teams have also completed the training which means they are equipped to welcome families looking to enjoy daily PADI-certified diving at the resorts. Many people on the autistic spectrum are drawn to water and swimming has been shown to help children on the spectrum improve speech, coordination and balance, as well as social skills.
In September 2017, as part of its long-standing partnership with Sesame Workshop ®, Beaches Resorts introduced Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet on the autism spectrum. During Amazing Art with Julia, the puppet – a four-year-old who loves to paint, highlights how people can express themselves through art. Beaches Resorts are paving the way for families with special needs, including children with autism, and taking some of the stress out of holiday planning. To experience all that Beaches Resorts has to offer, why not spend October half term at the incredible five-star resort in Jamaica, Beaches Ocho Rios? Find more information about the deal below.
Beaches Ocho Rios, Jamaica:
Family of 3: £6,299
Family of 4: £7,599