The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory is now a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). It is awarded to organizations that complete training and certification to better understand and welcome autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors and their families. As part of the certification process, IBCCES also conducted an onsite review to provide additional ways the Library and Observatory can accommodate visitors and create sensory guides for each area.
“The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory has always been a place for inclusivity and being a safe environment for all our patrons and visitors,” shared Aaron Espinosa, Director of the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory. “The ability to become a Certified Autism Center™ through the Greater Palm Springs initiative allows us to show our autistic and sensory-sensitive patrons that they are welcome.”
Many communities around the U.S. and globally are working toward autism certification through IBCCES to strategically improve the experience for visitors and residents and attract travelers looking for more welcoming and accessible destinations. For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, public safety, travel, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES is the only credentialing board offering travel and entertainment industry-specific programs, which include training from subject matter experts and autistic self-advocates, as well as long-term support and continuous learning, onsite reviews, and renewal requirements to ensure there is continued learning and lasting impact.
By completing the CAC process, The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory joins a wider movement initiated by Visit Greater Palms Springs to achieve the Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD) designation. The CAD designation means visitors have multiple trained and certified options to choose from when in the area, including entertainment, recreation, and lodging. Greater Palm Springs-area businesses and organizations that have earned the Certified Autism Center™ designation include Visit Greater Palm Springs and the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, with many others in the process.
“IBCCES is excited to work with partners like the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory, who understand the need to create more accessible and welcoming spaces for all, especially the millions of autistic and sensory-sensitive travelers and their families actively looking for options,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “We’re thrilled to see the progress in the Greater Palm Springs area and look forward to continuing our work as this community initiative grows.”
In addition to training and certification, Rancho Mirage will be expanding its offerings to include sensory tools for checkout and utilization within the Library and Observatory to help those with sensory sensitivities. The sensory kits include noise-canceling headphones, weighted sensory wrap, sensory fidget toys, and books. Rancho Mirage is always looking for new opportunities to fulfill the needs of patrons and visitors.
To locate more certified options and resources, IBCCES created AutismTravel.com as a free online resource for families. Each organization listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
About The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory
Founded in 1996 and in its current location since 2006, the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory serves as the cultural hub of the Greater Palm Springs area. Over 400+ free programs, events, and exhibits are offered annually to patrons while over 175,000 people utilize the Library’s services annually. In 2018, the Rancho Mirage Library added the Observatory and has since assisted 15,000+ visitors each year in getting closer to the stars. The Observatory even launched an innovative program allowing seekers to check out a telescope to explore the stars from home. The Library is also home to one of America’s top book festivals, the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival, a celebration of the written word. Whether it’s music from top performers, engaging lectures, film discussions, family fun, or programs that showcase the Rancho Mirage community, everyone is invited to benefit from the library and observatory’s mission of “lifelong learning and access to all.”