HOUSTON – The Houston Museum of Natural Science was recently designed a Certified Autism Center, according to a press release.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) awarded the classification to the museum for its commitment to serve individuals with autism and other sensory needs.
“The Houston Museum of Natural Science is thrilled to receive the status of Certified Autism Center™ through IBCCES. Access to science and the arts is so important for everyone, and we are proud to have gone through staff training and evaluations in order to better serve people with autism and sensory sensitivities. We are excited to continue moving forward in an inclusive direction and hope to offer more resources, staff training, and programming that will provide a welcoming environment for all at HMNS,” said Matti Hammett, the Accessibility Programs Manager.
The certification requires at least 80% of guest-facing staff complete evidence-based training, more in-depth training and certification for managers and education staff and an on-site review, per the release. The training allows the museum to provide sensory guides for all exhibits and enhance other aspects of the museum experience for guests with sensory sensitivities.
“Part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s mission is to enhance in individuals the knowledge of and delight in natural science and related subjects, and what better way to accomplish that than to foster a welcoming and accessible environment for all audiences to enjoy our exhibitions. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to making access and inclusion a priority and know that we’re only moving forward from here,” said Joel Bartsch, Houston Museum of Natural Science President.
IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel and recreation options, per the release. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.
IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based information as well as the perspectives of individuals with autism, alongside other tools and resources such as on-site reviews and customized recommendations to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact, according to the release.