Bettendorf’s Family Museum earned the certified autism center designation. It’s the first in the state to get it after meeting the standards set by the International Board of Credentialing. Organizations that provide a supportive environment for kids with autism and other sensory disorders get the designation.
Parents with children on the autism spectrum can often find it difficult to find places where they feel welcomed, and understood. IBBCCES recognized that need, and in response created training and certification programs specifically for those areas.
All of the staff at the Family Museum completed sensory disorder training in order to earn this certification.
Kim Kidwell, Family Museum Director says the staff works hard to improve the experience and learning environment for the kids, and families affected by autism.
“We’re really excited to offer some comfort to the community, that we are welcoming for a safe place to bring your children should they be on the spectrum or have some sensory sensitivities. We hope that families always feel welcomed here, but knowing that we have this extra certification is maybe just a little more piece of mind.”
That sense of comfort is something that Amy Goldsberry can appreciate. Her son Tyler was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.
“Very inclusive. Tyler can run in here get his hand stamped, run through and we know we’ll be okay. Myself as a parent it can be uncomfortable in certain situations, and so for my son to be able to come here enjoy himself. I can relax, and let him roam free it’s very exciting, it’s just a good moment for us.”
Kidwell says, “You know some kids on the spectrum you look at them, they don’t look like they are on the spectrum, and they may behave in a certain way that’s kind of offputing, or other guest may be concerned, you know so we don’t want them to feel that way. We want them to come here and play and have a good time just like any other kid would come here.”
The museum is equipped with specialized sensory kits, as well as a quiet low lit room for kids who may need a break from all of the excitement at the museum.