Since being awarded the Certified Autism Center accolade in 2020, Hyland Hills Water World has expanded its accessibility efforts to ensure all guests can enjoy the water park. Recently the team completed International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) Certified Autism Center recertification process which requires 80% or more of all public-facing staff complete a training and certification program to better understand and welcome autistic or sensory-sensitive guests and their families. With 1 in 6 people having a sensory need or sensitivity and 1 in 36 children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the demand for more trained and certified options like Water World is at an all-time high.
Water World offers a comprehensive Sensory Guide for all guests who are interested in learning more about what to expect from each ride, which can be found on the website, on ride signage and a printed guide is also available at Guest Services. With IBCCES assistance Water World can share sensory ratings for all five senses to help guests plan their own adventures on what areas will be right fit for themselves or their family. The park also allows for outside food to allow families to bring needed items for those with dietary restrictions or needs. A sensory room is also available for guests who may need a reprieve from the excitement of the park and a quiet space if encountering sensory overload.
One Park guest shared, “I cannot begin to tell you how amazing the sensory room was for my daughter. We had such an enjoyable trip, and we will be back, and we will spread the word. You guys rock!”
Staff have also been vocal on the impact of the park’s training and certification. One team member disclosed they were autistic and how the CAC designation made them feel more comfortable working at the Park and grateful for the extra steps Water World took to be more inclusive. Another member shared, “I feel that IBCCES training is very useful. It taught me more about autism and gave me an understanding of how to help someone with autism when they might be having a sensory overload.”
This year Water World will also implement the IBCCES Accessibility Card (IAC) program to enhance their current Attraction Access Pass (AAP). Families and individuals needing accommodations or assistance at the Park can now apply for the IAC program online or through a mobile app to help expedite the requests process at the park. To learn more about the program visit accessibilitycard.org or waterworldcolorado.com.
A guest recently shared their thoughts on the AAP program, “I am a person with an invisible disability who first wants to thank you for having a nice time at the park today with my son and my sister. I have a very painful condition made worse by walking and standing for long periods. So, I was really happy to learn about your AAP program when I arrived. It’s really awesome of Water World. It’s so nice to have you include those who may not otherwise be able to enjoy this place.”
“IBCCES is honored to continue to partner with Water World as they enhance the visitor experience and ensure there are a variety of accessible options for all guests,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “This is a huge need globally and we’re proud to provide comprehensive supports and certification to work with our industry partners leading the way for accessibility.”
For over 20 years, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals worldwide. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based training as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals, alongside other tools and resources such as onsite reviews and
customized recommendations, and renewal requirements to ensure the program is a long-term commitment that has a lasting impact.
IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements.
Hyland Hills Water World is one of the nation’s largest family water parks boasting 52 thrilling and unique attractions on 70 beautiful acres. Now in its 44th season, community-owned Water World, has hosted more than 16 million guests over the years, and is again being acknowledged as one of the best water parks in the world. The park is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (weather permitting). Visit waterworldcolorado.com for ticket details, options and more information. Parking at Water World is free and picnics with factory-sealed, non-alcoholic beverages are welcome. For additional information call 303-427-SURF.
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