Traveling to Houston this summer? See how Space Center Houston has become a certified autism center

Space Center Houston, where you can learn all about the latest in space exploration by NASA has been named a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

What does that mean?

The Resource Prospector 2015 (RP15) Rover Prototype is shown at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.  Brett Coomer /Houston Chronicle

It means that the staff has been trained on accessibility and inclusion strategies for people with autism. It also means that the center has made improvements to the center to make it more accommodating for people with autism and other sensory and cognitive differences.

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education is for everyone,” said William T. Harris, the center’s president and CEO, in a press release. “This certification highlights our dedication to be inclusive and to inspire the next generation of problem solvers.”

Workshops taught staff, especially those in guest services, what to do when a child does things like run when he gets overwhelmed.

“We train our team about awareness and sensitivity, best practices for instruction and interactions,” said Stephanie McMahon in a press release. She is a special education certified teacher and mother to an autistic child, who is now the senior lead instructor in its Education Department, and the inclusion and accessibility coordinator.

McMahon has helped develop a “Stellar Explorer Guide,” that individuals and school groups can use to prepare guests with autism for an upcoming visit and vocabulary cards for non- or low-verbal guests that can help with transitions and timelines.

The Center also has Sensory Friendly Evenings for which families can sign up.

Get the complete accessibility guide here.

Find out more about Space Center Houston, at spacecenter.org.

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