Chandler Community Services Department works towards Certified Autism Center designation

Jan. 12, 2024
Tumbleweed Park playground in Chandler Arizona

CHANDLER, Ariz. – In an effort to enhance services and ensure equitable access to play for the entire community, the City of Chandler’s Parks and Recreation Divisions are moving towards a Certified Autism Center designation.

On Jan. 11, Chandler City Council approved an agreement to qualify the Community Services Department, Parks and Recreation Divisions, with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

This initiative reflects the city’s commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for individuals with autism and sensory sensitivities, as well as their families and caretakers.

In June 2023, City Council approved budget amendments including $10,000 in ongoing funding for training and program development to achieve the certified autism designation. This month, the Parks and Recreation Divisions sought authorization from City Council to work with IBCCES and enter into a five-year agreement supporting the Certified Autism Center designation. The Parks and Recreation Divisions will be the first in the city to go through this credentialing process, which may be expanded to other areas as resources allow.

With the approval of the agreement, Parks and Recreation staff will complete a comprehensive training program. This includes everyone from groundskeepers at parks to lifeguards at city aquatic centers to front desk staff at community centers. This program will enhance awareness and understanding of autism-related needs and include safety and communication protocols and best practices.

Additionally, IBCCES will conduct five facility audits at parks and recreation amenities that will offer suggestions on enhancing accessibility. These audits and recommendations will focus on strategies to make Chandler's community spaces more inclusive and accommodating for individuals with autism.

For more information about Parks and Recreation programs and facilities, visit City of Chandler Recreation.

Media contact:
Toni Smith
City of Chandler, Marketing and Communications Manager