The Oakland Athletics Become the First MLB Organization to Earn Certified Autism Center™ Designation
MESA, Ariz., February 21, 2020 (Newswire.com) - The Oakland Athletics Spring Training staff at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona, has completed the process to become a Certified Autism Center™. The CAC designation is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring visitors with autism and sensory needs have the best possible experience during Spring Training events.
The Oakland A’s Spring Training staff and Hohokam Stadium join a growing number of organizations in Mesa to become certified as part of a movement initiated by Visit Mesa, culminating in the designation of Mesa as the first-ever Autism Certified City.
Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval said, “We are committed to creating an inclusive, fun, and memorable experience for all of our fans when they come to the ballpark – whether it be in Oakland or our Spring Training home in Mesa. We are excited that our staff members at Hohokam Stadium have completed their autism certification training, allowing us to broaden awareness, acceptance, and accessibility for fans with autism.”
For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism certification for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options. 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 best practices as well as the perspectives of individuals with autism, alongside other tools and resources to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact.
“We’re excited to be working with the A’s in their Spring Training home in Mesa. With baseball having a strong connection for many individuals on the spectrum, this was the perfect fit. Having more options for families looking for a fun and welcoming atmosphere is central to our mission,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
The A’s implemented the IBCCES program in order to better accommodate visitors to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. In addition to the certification, the Oakland A’s introduced a Sensory Room to the Oakland Coliseum in 2019. The quiet space transformed a suite on the East Plaza Level in centerfield to an area that caters to fans of all ages with autism, Down syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, and similar conditions who can find comfort in a soothing atmosphere. The space includes “sensory bags,” filled with noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and other tools as calming mechanisms. The space, created in partnership with the nonprofit Micah’s Voice, is open during every home game for fans. Additionally, as part of Autism Awareness Month, the A’s will also host Autism Awareness Day at the Coliseum on April 18.
IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements.
Erica George, Director of Corporate Communications, Oakland A’s
Meredith Tekin, President of IBCCES
Phone: 904.508.0135 / 904.434.1534