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Mesa Parks and Recreation receives autism-certified designation

PHOENIX — The Mesa Parks Recreation and Community Facilities Department has made a bit of history.

It became the first such department in the world to receive an autism-certified designation, the department announced Wednesday.

The designation, which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests with autism and sensory sensitivities have the best possible experience, comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

“Mesa is well known as a destination for families to both live and visit,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said in a press release. “I am proud that our Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department took that priority a step further to ensure that children on the autism spectrum have a fun experience in Mesa.”

Around 500 employees of the department completed awareness and sensitivity training. IBCCES also conducted an onsite review of numerous parks and facilities.

“The training our staff has undergone highlights our commitment to making sure our programs and activities are inclusive to all in the community,” Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities director Marc Heirshberg said in a press release.

“The training has made us more aware of how to effectively provide our services to people with autism.”

The training wasn’t only for parks and recreation employees. Members of Visit Mesa and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce also took part.

“It’s exciting to partner with an organization that is so committed to inclusion and has done so much amazing work in their community to ensure everyone has options,” IBCCES board chairman Myron Pincomb said in a press release.

“We partner with industry leaders from around the world, and the team in Mesa is no exception – the work they have put into the IBCCES program and their public spaces is above and beyond!”

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