PALM DESERT, CA – JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa announced Monday that it has become the first hotel in Greater Palm Springs, as well as the first JW Marriott property, to gain the Certified Autism Center designation.
The CAC designation is earned by organizations that have completed autism training to better understand, welcome and accommodate autistic visitors and their families, according to a press release. The property has worked with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), a global leader in online training and certification programs, to be designated as a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC).
1 in 36 children in the US are diagnosed with autism (according to the CDC) and 1 in 6 people have sensory needs or sensitivities, the release said.
The hotel’s staff recently completed training and certification in best practices when assisting autistic individuals. By undergoing additional autism-specific training, the goal is to be equipped to provide better service and experiences to all.
“We are dedicated to deepening our commitment to our guests, including those with autism or sensory processing disorders,” JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort’s General Manager Nusrat Mirza said. “The CAC training and designation continues this initiative, in preparing our staff to best provide service, recognize areas for support and assist guests of all interests and needs, ensuring they have equal opportunities and, ultimately, an enjoyable stay.”
The hotel is now aligned with Visit Greater Palm Springs, who in 2022 achieved recognition as a Certified Autism Center. Visit Greater Palms Springs is spearheading this wider movement for area properties to achieve the Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD) designation, meaningv isitors would have multiple trained and certified options to choose from when in the area.
With all core staff trained in sensory sensitivity awareness, the hotel aims for its guests to feel welcome and taken care of. The hotel will provide sensory maps and information packets, given out upon arrival, that describe the level and types of stimulation as well as sensory guides posted in high sensory locations throughout the hotel.
JW Marriott hopes to make traveling with an autistic family member less stressful by featuring low sensory indoor and outdoor spaces along with useful tools such as sensory bags, weighted blankets, sound machines, headphones and fidget toys. Outdoor spaces include large lawns for exercise or play as well as a mini golf course and a designated low sensory pool area.
“We at IBCCES are elated to collaborate with esteemed partners such as the JW Desert Springs Resort & Spa, who not only understand the significance of fostering inclusive and accommodating environments but also recognize the immense value it holds for millions of autistic and sensory-sensitive travelers and their families seeking suitable options,” said Myron Pincomb, Chairman of the IBCCES Board. “The remarkable strides made in the Greater Palm Springs area are truly inspiring, and we are enthusiastic about our ongoing efforts as this community initiative flourishes.”