JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Icemen’s Community First Igloo just became the first hockey team sports venue to earn Certified Autism Center (CAC) designation, according to a release.
“This designation is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to help make venues like the Community First Igloo more accessible to autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals by completing autism-specific training and certification to better understand and welcome these visitors, who may find it challenging to visit unfamiliar places,” the release said.
The certification provides families with reassurance that they can enjoy their visit to their fullest by having access to more accommodations and options if experience sensory overload or have other needs during their visit.
“We are excited to work with IBCCES and we appreciate their guidance in helping our team and the facility earn their Autism Certification,” said Icemen & Community First Igloo CEO Andy Kaufmann. “The Community First Igloo offers something for everyone, and we want to make certain that the facility is always welcoming for our autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors.”
The staff has also been trained to ensure the team has a better understanding of visitor needs and tools and resources to assist.
During the 2022-2023 season the Icemen hosted a Hockey is for All Night, that featured sensory-sensitive areas at the arena. The team is looking to create a permanent sensory space area for all of its games.
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.