Family vacations always involve a certain amount of stress but when you're traveling with children on the autism spectrum, it can be even more challenging. (Will the beach be crowded? Are there going to be delays at the airport? Will there be any food my child can eat once we get there?)
Happily, one tropical resort is helping families actually relax on their next trip by ensuring that all of its properties attain an Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) designation. (Huzzah!) Beaches Resort recently announced that all three of its properties—Beaches Negril Resort and Beaches Ocho Rios Resort, both in Jamaica, as well as Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort—have achieved the autism-friendly certification (a family travel destination first).
But what does that mean? Per Travel Agent Central, the resorts now offer a variety of important services,including:
- A pre-travel questionnaire to identify the different needs and preferences of families
- Designated quiet spaces throughout the resort
- Chef consultations to support specific dietary requests
- Staff members who have been trained on autism sensitivity and awareness
- Availability of sensory toys during check-in
- Modified, sensory-friendly camp experiences
There is also the option of getting a One-on-One Beaches Buddy, an individual who is certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCE). The Beaches Buddies will take care of your child at the resort and can be pre-booked for a small fee. This is a super important service for those kids who don't feel comfortable in large groups.
“We are proud to continue paving the way for families with individuals who have special needs, including children on the autism spectrum, to travel comfortably and truly live up to our tagline – the ‘Resorts for Everyone,’” said Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International.
Here's hoping more resorts follow suit and realize that family vacations should be for everybody.