Chandler Parks & Recreation Division becomes Certified Autism Center

May 12, 2024, 4:00 PM

(City of Chandler Photo)...

(City of Chandler Photo)

(City of Chandler Photo)

PHOENIX — The City of Chandler Parks & Recreation Division received Certified Autism Center status from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

The distinction is part of an initiative to make areas more inclusive for people of all abilities.

Chandler’s Parks & Recreation Division was awarded the designation after more than 500 staff members underwent training on autism awareness, recognition and understanding of sensory sensitivities.

“Becoming a Certified Autism Center is a testament to the hard work the City of Chandler staff has put forth to become a more inclusive community,” Recreation Superintendent Becky Kuiper said in a press release. “Chandler Parks & Recreation believes everyone should have the opportunity to discover, imagine and grow within our community through accessible and adaptable parks and recreation centers and inclusive programming. This certification empowers our staff to make every interaction safe and enjoyable.”

In addition, six Chandler facilities and recreation centers, including Chandler Nature Center, Espee Park, Homestead North Park, Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center, Nozomi Aquatic Center and Tumbleweed Recreation Center were evaluated in order to receive certification.

All of the aforementioned facilities will also receive a sensory guide, which will help staff members at the facilities understand how a person with sensory-processing sensitivities could be feeling. More sensory guides will be provided online at a later date.

Chandler Parks & Recreation will also offer a series of programs aimed at community members of all abilities. These “Adaptive Recreation” programs are accessible to community members with disabilities while a request for modification for any recreation program may also be made.

Chandler Aquatics will also provide adaptive swim lessons and sensory swim times for community members with sensory sensitivities starting this summer.

Chandler City Council voted in favor of budget amendments, including $10,000 in ongoing funding for training and program development, to receive its certified autism designation in June 2023.

A five-year agreement for the Parks & Recreation Division to work with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to support the Certified Autism Center designation was authorized by Chandler’s council in May.

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Chandler Parks & Recreation Division becomes Certified Autism Center