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Saturday,  June 22, 2024 9:43 AM 

Beaches expands autism program with new Sensory Guides

  • Hotels
  •   04-03-2023  7:35 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Beaches expands autism program with new Sensory Guides
As part of Beaches Resorts' autism program and Sesame Street activities, Julia, a 4-year-old character on the autism spectrum, invites children to create art together while on vacation. (Beaches Resorts)
Pax Global Media

Beaches Resorts has expanded its autism program with the release of all-new Sensory Guides. 

The guides feature extensive resort maps with public areas – such as the resorts’ many pools, dining spaces, and sports hubs – rated on a 1-10 scale of sensory stimulation.

It was developed by The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and designed to allow caregivers and guests with cognitive disabilities to more comfortably navigate the on-resort experience based on specific sensory sensitivities. 

Beaches is home to the Caribbean’s first advanced autism-friendly kids camps. The all-inclusive resort company has also completed its IBCCES and Autism Certification. 

“At Beaches Resorts, the word ‘inclusive’ has dual meanings – one speaks to our business model, and the other speaks to our mission,” said Joel Ryan, group manager themed entertainment and children's activities. “Our enduring commitment to do more in this very important space, and to do it better, has inspired many new programs across our resorts to create a vacation experience that’s safe and comfortable for all. This month, and year round, we’re proud to see and hear from guests who, time and time again, trust to bring their families to a Beaches Resort.”

Beaches Resorts debuts all-new Sensory Guides carefully developed by IBCCES ahead of Autism Acceptance Month. (Beaches Resorts)

Inclusive vacation experiences

Debuting ahead of Autism Acceptance Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of April, Beaches’ Sensory Guides add to the brands’ mission to create an inclusive vacation experience for guests with cognitive disabilities including the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects approximately 1 in every 50 children and adolescents in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.  

Throughout April, all resorts across the Beaches portfolio will offer daily sensory arts and crafts, as well as added activities through the brand’s one-of-a-kind partnership with Sesame Street.

Beaches Resorts also offers one-on-one Beaches Buddies, accredited staff members who can join the family for an hour, a day, or for their entire stay, at an additional cost. 

Additional programs include Beaches’ dedicated Culinary Concierge, through which families can pre-plan meals according to dietary preferences and allergies. 

In 2017, Beaches Resorts evolved their Sesame Street programming to include Julia, a four-year-old character on the autism spectrum who introduced an exciting new activity for kids - Amazing Art with Julia. 

Beaches also offers the Island Routes Fast Track Arrival & Departure Service, for an additional fee, securing a professional airport agent to escort families through immigration, customs and security to ensure a seamless airport experience.

In a recent survey conducted by the IBCCES, 94 per cent of surveyed families shared that they would take more vacations or visit more new places if they had access to autism-trained and certified options.

Coming Soon: Specialty Week at Beaches Ocho Rios

Beaches is set to host its first-ever dedicated autism week for loyalty members and guests, inviting families with children on the spectrum to come together at Beaches Ocho Rios in Jamaica from Oct. 9-13, 2023. 

Guests can look forward to daily arts and crafts with Sesame Street’s Julia, fireside chats with autism experts, a private dinner and more, all with the help of a dedicated Beaches Buddy per family.

 Families traveling with children on the autism spectrum can find more information here

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