Visit Visalia Recognizes Autism Awareness Month in April
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~ Visalia, California has been recognized as the nation's first Certified Autism Destination, leading the way in welcoming neurodiverse travelers. As April marks Autism Awareness month, Visit Visalia and local tourism partners are highlighting their initiative: Every day is autism acceptance day in our community.

According to a recent survey conducted by Autism Travel, 78% of parents with an autistic child do not travel. However, 94% of these parents would be more likely to travel if autism certified options were available. This highlights the need for destinations to cater to the needs of families with autistic children.

Sherrie Bakke, executive director of Visit Visalia, stated that "Visalia acknowledges Autism Awareness each April to reinforce our commitment to autistic and sensory sensitive adventurers every day, every month, all year long." She also emphasized that a trip to the spectacular Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks offers health benefits and a full-sensory experience for every family member.

In order to empower travelers of all abilities and make their trip planning process easier, Visalia tourism partners have completed specialized training provided by International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to earn their designation as a Certified Autism Center. This means that properties in Visalia have staff trained to cater to the needs of individuals with autism.

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Throughout the month of April, Visalia will be highlighting autism awareness through various initiatives. Certified Autism Destination (CAD) Partners will bring awareness through social media posts and profile page graphics. Hotels and attractions designated as Certified Autism Centers (CAC) will also have awareness posters displayed.

On April 23rd, Valley Strong Ballpark will host "Free to Be Me" night in celebration of those with developmental disabilities including autism. Sponsored by Able Inc., complimentary tickets will be available for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and caretakers.

Visitors can rest assured that they will be well taken care of at any of the Certified Autism Centers in Visalia, including Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn, Visalia Marriott Hotel, Visalia Wyndham Hotel, Best Western, Lamp Liter Inn, Visalia Adventure Park, Imagine U Children's Museum, Valley Oaks Golf Course, Tulare County Museum, Arts Visalia, Visalia Fox Theatre, Downtown Visalians Merchants Association and Visit Visalia.

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The city of Visalia is constantly growing and expanding its options for entertainment and recreation for autistic or sensory sensitive adventurers. Newly opened lodging properties are also pursuing the CAC Designation and intend to complete the IBCCES Certification before the peak summer travel season.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is no longer in the shadows with an estimated 80 million people worldwide living with autism. In the U.S., about 1 in 36 children are identified as having ASD according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. It is also estimated that 1 in 6 people have sensory needs and millions of adults are on the spectrum but remain undiagnosed.

Visalia is not only known for its famous Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks but also for its natural charm and welcoming locals. The city offers a variety of experiences including outdoor adventures, arts and a thriving food scene with options ranging from food trucks to fine dining.

For more information or to book your stay in this Certified Autism Destination, visit
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