Understanding Autism & More

Understanding Autism & More
The Village Of Wellington Shines Light And Offers Support During Autism Awareness Month

With April being Autism Awareness Month, let’s explore how Wellington’s Certified Autism Center designation sets the Village of Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding of the neuro-diverse community.

April is not just a month of blooming flowers and gentle showers; it’s also a time to embrace diversity and promote understanding. As we step into Autism Awareness Month, it’s imperative to recognize and appreciate the unique perspectives and talents of our neuro-diverse community members and individuals on the autism spectrum. This month serves as a beacon of awareness, fostering empathy, acceptance and support for those navigating life with autism.

Certified Autism Center

In a groundbreaking move toward inclusivity, the Village of Wellington was recently honored with the prestigious Certified Autism Center designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This designation marks a significant milestone in our community’s commitment to creating an environment that is welcoming, supportive and accessible to our neuro-diverse community members, individuals with autism and their families. This designation sets Wellington apart as a beacon of autism inclusion and understanding.

Understanding The Designation

The Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to Wellington’s dedication to understanding and accommodating individuals with autism. It involves comprehensive training for staff and personnel to ensure they possess the knowledge and skills necessary to interact effectively with individuals on the autism spectrum. By achieving this designation, the Village of Wellington has demonstrated its commitment to providing inclusive experiences across various facets of community life.

For individuals and families living with autism, simple activities like attending community events can pose significant challenges. The Certified Autism Center designation empowers residents and visitors alike by ensuring that our programs and facilities are equipped to accommodate diverse needs. From sensory-friendly events to trained staff members ready to aid, we are fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Enhancing Accessibility

Education is key to fostering understanding and empathy toward individuals with autism. The village is taking proactive steps to raise awareness about autism within the community. By offering training sessions and informational resources, we are equipping staff and volunteers with the knowledge and tools needed to interact with individuals on the spectrum respectfully and compassionately.

Recreation and leisure activities are essential for overall well-being and quality of life. With the Certified Autism Center designation, we are ensuring that individuals with autism can fully participate in these opportunities without barriers. Whether it’s enjoying a day at the park, attending a cultural event or participating in sports programs, residents and visitors with autism can now engage in activities tailored to their unique needs.

KultureCity Program

Wellington’s staff is also certified through the KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification Program, developed by sensory issue experts such as physicians, board-certified speech therapists, applied behavioral analysis therapists and occupational therapists. The program helps to ensure that all guests are included, regardless of the event they are attending. A KultureCity-designated area is set up at key events, like the village’s Fourth of July Celebration and Fall Festival, and the dedicated area is for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. Sensory bags are available and filled with items to help lessen the sensory overload, with no additional cost.

Additionally, autism friendly/sensory-friendly inflatables are included as part of other regularly scheduled activities during key events. These inflatables are different than other inflatables because the team working them has undergone business-centered autism training to increase understanding and sensitivity about autism and related disabilities. Each section has only one entrance/exit and is secured by Velcro, so users aren’t interacting with each other, and a trained paraprofessional is included with every rental, positioned at the entrance/exit to the inflatable to supervise users and regulate the line. An ultra-quiet generator is also used rather than a traditional generator to accommodate those with noise sensitivities.

A Day For Autism

We have also held “A Day for Autism: Building Bridges with Law Enforcement” since 2018. This event is made possible through a collaboration between the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and has activities for everyone, including a petting zoo, face painting, a bounce house, touch-a-truck zone, a Relax Zone for parents and a DJ. The event provides an opportunity to engage with local law enforcement through interactive displays featuring therapy dogs, the mounted unit, ATV/motors, the 911 bus and fire-rescue. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, ask questions and build bridges with our community protectors.


Setting The Standard

By becoming a Certified Autism Center and making inclusion paramount in day-to-day operations, Wellington is setting a standard for others to follow. We’re demonstrating that inclusivity is not just a goal, but a tangible commitment that can be achieved through dedicated efforts and collaboration. As other communities take note of our success, we hope that they too will prioritize autism inclusion and work toward creating environments that celebrate diversity and accommodate all individuals.

Our achievement of the Certified Autism Center designation is a testament to our unwavering dedication to inclusivity and understanding. By prioritizing autism awareness, accessibility and support, we are leading the way toward creating a more inclusive and compassionate community for individuals with autism and their families. As other communities take inspiration from Wellington’s example, we move one step closer to a world where everyone, regardless of neurodiversity, can thrive and belong.

As we commemorate Autism Awareness Month this April, let us commit to fostering a more inclusive and accepting society. By promoting understanding, celebrating strengths and building support networks, we can create a world where individuals with autism are valued, respected and empowered to reach their full potential. Together, let’s shine a light on autism and embrace the beauty of neurodiversity.