In a significant stride toward inclusivity and enhanced guest experiences, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa has emerged as the pioneering hotel in Greater Palm Springs, as well as the first within the JW Marriott portfolio, to achieve the prestigious Certified Autism Center (CAC) designation.
The CAC designation is a testament to the property’s commitment to offering a more accommodating and welcoming environment for individuals and families with autism. This recognition is granted to organizations that undergo specialized autism training aimed at comprehending and addressing the unique needs of autistic visitors. In partnership with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), a global leader in online training and certification programs, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa has secured its status as a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism affects 1 in 36 children in the United States, and sensory sensitivities impact 1 in 6 people. The resort’s dedicated staff has recently completed comprehensive training and certification in best practices for assisting individuals with autism. This initiative equips the staff with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver outstanding service and experiences to guests with diverse needs.
Nusrat Mirza, General Manager of JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort, highlighted the property’s commitment: “We are dedicated to deepening our commitment to our guests, including those with autism or sensory processing disorders. The CAC training and designation continues this initiative, in preparing our staff to best provide service, recognize areas for support and assist guests of all interests and needs, ensuring they have equal opportunities and, ultimately, an enjoyable stay.”
The resort now stands alongside Visit Greater Palm Springs, an organization that achieved Certified Autism Center recognition in 2022. This collaboration contributes to a broader movement aimed at designating the region as a Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD), offering a range of trained and certified options for visitors seeking inclusive experiences.
With the core staff well-versed in sensory sensitivity awareness, the resort aims to create a hospitable and supportive atmosphere for all guests. Notable features include sensory maps and information packets distributed upon check-in, providing insights into the level and types of sensory stimuli. Moreover, sensory guides are strategically placed in high-stimulation areas throughout the property.
To alleviate the stress of travel for families with autistic members, JW Marriott has established low-sensory indoor and outdoor spaces. The resort also offers practical tools such as sensory bags, weighted blankets, sound machines, headphones, and fidget toys. Outdoor amenities encompass spacious lawns for recreation and play, a mini-golf course, and a designated low-sensory pool area.
Myron Pincomb, Chairman of the IBCCES Board, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration: “We at IBCCES are elated to collaborate with esteemed partners such as the JW Desert Springs Resort & Spa, who not only understand the significance of fostering inclusive and accommodating environments but also recognize the immense value it holds for millions of autistic and sensory-sensitive travelers and their families seeking suitable options. The remarkable strides made in the Greater Palm Springs area are truly inspiring, and we are enthusiastic about our ongoing efforts as this community initiative flourishes.”