LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta, First in North America, to be Certified Autism Center at Opening

Staff Report

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta believes awesome is for everyone! Today, the next-gen attraction proudly declares it will be a Certified Autism Center (CAC) when it officially opens on March 31, 2023. The certification means it will be the first indoor family attraction that is a CAC in the Atlanta area.

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is granting LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta with autism certification and it will be the first Discovery Center in North America with this certification. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based training as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals. In addition, the organization provides resources such as onsite reviews, customized recommendations and renewal requirements to ensure the Center has the tools and support that can make a lasting impact for all guests.

The Center is working with IBCCES to train and certify staff in sensory, environmental and emotional awareness – ensuring families can build a bricktastic visit and make unforgettable memories.
“We are so proud that our new-look LEGO Discovery Center in Atlanta has secured the status of being a Certified Autism Center - a first for our LEGO Discovery Center and LEGOLAND Discovery Center attractions at Merlin Entertainments. This marks yet another positive step on our global strategy of inclusivity and belonging, crucial to our Merlin company values. We are focused on working with our partners such as LEGO to build and curate accessible opportunities to learn, play, and create, while supporting parents and caregivers in building magical family memories,” said Scott O’Neil CEO of Merlin Entertainments. “With over 140 attractions globally, at Merlin Entertainments our goal is to lead the entertainments industry in making our experiences ‘awesome for everyone’ and to inspire imagination and creativity for all guests - including the 1 in 44 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S.A. annually. In the U.S.A we know that 44% of our Merlin’s Magic Wand Charity Foundation Magical Days Out family applications were for neurodiverse children. Our aim is to ensure all our parks and attractions are equipped with activities, tools, and amazingly passionate teams, each trained to support our neurodiverse guests, their families and caregivers.”

Here’s what families can expect as part of the LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta experience:
Trained front-line team members equipped to better assist autistic guests or those with other sensory sensitivities.

A sensory guide will available for guests on the Center’s website or at the Center. Every ride and experience will have a posted sign with a sensory rating developed by IBCCES indicating whether there are bright lights, loud sounds, or any features that guests might need to plan around. Rating each attractions’ sensory levels – touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell – makes it easier for families to plan activities that align with their needs and accommodations.

Low sensory areas allow guests with certain sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment. Upon request, First Aid offers ear plugs to assist with sound.

“IBCCES is honored to work with all LEGOLAND® Resorts in North America and LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta to make sure autistic and sensory-sensitive guests and their families can make treasured memories and enjoy all the amazing experiences these attractions offer," said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Our programs will provide long-term support with ongoing training and other supports to the Resorts and Centers in achieving their objective of providing accessible options for all visitors.”