In Houston, Texas, the official Visitor Center for the NASA Johnson Space Center has become a Certified Autism Center, designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. This designation demonstrates that businesses can better serve “guests and clients with cognitive disorders, including autism, sensory disorders, and other, sometimes invisible, disorders and disabilities”, according to IBCCES website, with a “highly trained staff and are fully equipped to serve the fastest growing population of developmental disorders”.
William Harris,C.E.O of Space Center Houston, reports in an interview with Fox News, that they wanted to “Reach out to the community who are living with autism and ask how can we be more available and accessible to them”. Harris and the employees of Space Center Houston kept this promise by attending extensive staff training and bringing new tools to help guests at their exhibits.
One such example of these new tools are the “sensory sensitive kit”, that come with anxiety relieving items and stimulation guides for each exhibit.Some of the anxiety relieving tools including a pair of sunglasses if there is too much visual stimulation, or squeezable objects that guests can use.
Morgan Benson, a local whose young cousin was recently diagnosed with autism, said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta, “I think it’s a huge gateway and a great start”, mentioning that this may influence better opportunities for her cousin. Many parents are excited about the new certification, and hope other organizations and businesses follow suit, allowing for greater opportunities for communities that are often ignored.