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Six Flags in Jackson, NJ Will Earn Certified Autism Center™ Designation

Six Flags in Jackson, NJ Will Earn Certified Autism Center™ Designation

All 26 Six Flags locations across the country will earn the designation.

Six Flags Great Adventure announced on Feb. 6 that all 26 locations will earn a Certified Autism Center™ designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES)—and Six Flags will be the only family of parks to earn the distinction. The park in Jackson, NJ already hosts annual Autism Days where kids on the spectrum and their families have free reign of the park, which transforms into a sensory-friendly space with lowered light and noise levels, short lines, and decompression areas so everyone is comfortable. Six Flags is working toward the IBCCES designation because the company understands that visiting new places or going on family vacations can be challenging and overwhelming for kids with autism, and wants to be an inclusive fun space.

“We are proud to partner with IBCCES to ensure that guests on the autism spectrum have the best possible experience when visiting our parks,” said Jason Freeman, the Six Flags vice president of safety. “The certification process will equip our team members with the tools and training needed to better serve guests with special needs. We want them to know Six Flags stands ready to welcome them with open arms.”

To earn the Certified Autism Center™ designation, at least 80 percent of guest-facing Six Flags staff must complete a training and certification program through IBCCES, complete onsite audits, and make a commitment to future training. The training focuses on understanding the autism spectrum, strategies for communication, and how to enhance guests’ experience and safety. Each Six Flags location will also provide

  • Trained staff who can identify visual cues that will help accommodate all guests
  • A sensory guide for each ride and attraction so guests can make informed choices about which rides they will enjoy
  • In-park sensory spaces where guests can relax if things get overwhelming
  • Expanded food options to meet everyone’s dietary needs
  • Accessibility Guides, which will be available at each park and on the Six Flags website

“IBCCES is extremely excited to work with a family of parks with this level of commitment,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman. “So many families just need more communication and understanding from parks and other attractions, so they can make those memories together that we all cherish. In some cases, small changes can make a huge impact, and our certification program ensures each park is committed to long-term growth and understanding, not just a one-time training.”

Six Flags will also be the first family of amusement parks to implement the IBCCES Accessibility Card, which guests will be able to use to identify important accommodations at certified attractions worldwide. The cards will be free and guests can register for one online. For more information on Six Flags’ accessibility and accommodations that suit your child’s individual needs, visit the Six Flags website.

"As a person on the spectrum, it is exciting to see more parks taking the extra steps to accommodate all guests," Dr. Stephen Shore said. "The commitment Six Flags is making to a true certification process is impressive and means so much to millions of individuals and families. Creating family memories and recreation are essential for both individuals with ASD and their families as a whole."

Main Image: Autism Day at Six Flags. Courtesy Six Flags

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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