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Santa Barbara Zoo now a certified autism center

Posted at 8:22 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 23:22:31-04

The Santa Barbara Zoo has become the first zoo on the West Coast to be awarded a certification for its autism accommodations.

In a statement, the Santa Barbara Zoo says it received its Certified Autism Center designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, which indicates that the zoo makes extra effort to ensure a good experience for guests who are on the autism spectrum or have sensory needs.

Officials say the Santa Barbara Zoo takes extra precaution to cater to those with sensory needs, dietary restrictions, and safety concerns.

"Zoo Camp and other education programs, and many guest experiences, have long been accessible, but this integrates our commitment into the everyday visitor experience," said Zoo School Director J.J. McLeod. "By dedicating quiet spaces, offering sensory backpacks, and offering specialized staff training, we hope the autism community feels even more safe, supported, and welcome here."