St. Augustine Sailing Achieves Autism Certification Through IBCCES
When Chuck and Rose Ann Points acquired St. Augustine Sailing, they dreamed of sharing their love of sailing with everyone. And by everyone, they mean everyone. The organization has taken the next step in making its sailing excursions accessible for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by earning the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation from The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). By obtaining certification, St Augustine Sailing demonstrates its commitment to understanding and accommodating the needs of individuals with ASD.
“This certification program is aligned with our core values,” says Rose Ann, owner, captain, and broker at St. Augustine Sailing. “We believe in the transformative power of sailing and believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes from being on the water. The resources this training provides will help us adapt our programs to ensure that individuals with autism can fully participate in and benefit from our sailing experiences. Everyone should see that the fun begins where the land ends!
St. Augustine Sailing has already implemented many techniques for creating a safe and predictable space for those with ASD. The yachts carry fidget toys and sensory tools like headphones that can help reduce anxiety and aid in relaxation. There are designated low-sensory areas available on-shore before and after the sail where guests can relax in a calm space. St. Augustine Sailing even offers quiet hours sails, to avoid crowds and excessive noise. And for those who have dietary issues, there are many substitutions and alternative items available. Guests are encouraged to share any sensitivities they may have so that staff can make the appropriate accommodations.
“We understand that those with ASD and sensory sensitivities benefit from predictable situations,” says Points. “We’ve created a series of videos that guests can use to walk through the experience before they arrive. This helps reduce their anxiety about a new situation. And once on board, our wonderful staff are trained to offer support and assistance to our new sailors. I’m thrilled that we can bring sailing into more people’s lives.”