High Point: First Certified Autism Destination On The East Coast

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This is a guest post courtesy of The Mom Kind. View the original story here.

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High Point, North Carolina, is renowned for its furniture market but has recently achieved another significant milestone. It has become the first certified autism destination on the East Coast. This recognition highlights the city’s commitment to providing inclusive and accessible experiences for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

In this article, we will explore what makes High Point a unique and welcoming destination for individuals with autism. From sensory-friendly attractions to specialized services, High Point goes above and beyond to ensure a memorable experience for everyone.

What is Autism?

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Individuals with autism often have unique strengths and challenges, and their experiences can vary widely.

Many individuals with autism experience sensory sensitivities, which means they may be more sensitive or reactive to certain stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. Understanding and accommodating these sensitivities is crucial in creating an inclusive environment. This is why it is so impressive to see an entire town become a certified autism center.

High Point’s Journey to Becoming a Certified Autism Destination

Becoming a certified autism destination requires collaboration among stakeholders, including community organizations, businesses, and local government—their joint efforts aimed to create an environment that addresses the specific needs of individuals with autism.

Training and Education

To ensure the highest level of support, professionals in High Point underwent specialized training and education programs focused on autism awareness, understanding, and communication techniques. This training equips them with the necessary skills to provide a welcoming experience.

Sensory-Friendly Infrastructure

High Point invested in sensory-friendly infrastructure modifications throughout the city. This includes reducing overwhelming stimuli, creating quiet areas, and implementing visual supports to enhance accessibility for individuals with autism.

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Sensory-Friendly Attractions and Activities

Interactive Museums

High Point boasts a range of interactive museums that offer sensory-friendly experiences. These museums provide hands-on exhibits, quiet spaces, and trained staff who understand and accommodate the unique needs of individuals on the autism spectrum.

  • Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum is a vibrant and enchanting haven for young minds. With its mission to inspire imagination and foster a love for learning, this museum stands as a beacon of creativity, education, and endless possibilities.
  • Q’s Corner is an indoor sensory-based play facility that caters to individuals of all ability levels. All ages are welcome! Therapeutic sensory swings, sensory room, soft play room, ball pit, 360 virtual room, and more!
  • High Point Museum tells the story of the local community. Children can engage in history through monthly hands-on crafts and activities. The museum provides designated quiet spaces inside and outside for easy access to calming areas.
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Parks and Nature Reserves

The city of High Point takes pride in its parks and nature reserves that offer accessible and sensory-friendly environments. These outdoor spaces provide opportunities for individuals with autism to connect with nature, engage in physical activities, and enjoy recreational opportunities.

Art and Creativity Workshops

Art and creativity workshops in High Point have been tailored to accommodate individuals with autism. These workshops provide a safe and inclusive space where participants can express themselves, explore their creativity, and engage in therapeutic activities.

  • Distractions Art Studio is one example that goes out of its way to make art accessible to all. They offer walk-in paint-your-own-pottery, board, canvas painting, workshops, summer camps, and classes. This fun, family-friendly activity allows everyone to take home a souvenir to remember your trip!
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Unexpected and Exceptional Entertainment

High Point Public Library’s Children’s Department is a destination that offers a vast array of activities for both tourists and locals alike. Throughout the year, sensory-friendly storytime is held to help autistic children enjoy the library in a new way. The team at High Point’s Library has created sensory bags for use at the library and throughout High Point.

Soon, a new sensory garden will be open for all to enjoy! The Sensory Garden at the High Point Public Library will be a 7,000 sq. ft. The self-contained garden area allows visitors to enjoy various sensory experiences. It will offer many educational and recreational applications for those with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, physical or mental disabilities, and a positive outdoor experience for all populations. 

High Point Rockers offer way more than just an incredible baseball team. Need to cool down during your visit to Truist Point? Check out the Splash Pad at Blessing Park! Kids and adults enjoy running through this water feature during those hot summer days. Even your four-pawed family members can get their energy out in Blessing Park is open all season long, even when a game is not in session!

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Accessible Accommodations and Dining Options

Specialized Menus

Restaurants and dining establishments in High Point have developed specialized menus that cater to individuals with dietary restrictions or sensory sensitivities. These menus offer various options, accommodating various food allergies, intolerances, or preferences. Additionally, the dining environments are designed to be comfortable and welcoming for individuals with autism.


Sweet Old Bill’s

Autism-Aware Hotels

High Point offers autism-aware hotels that have implemented strategies to cater to the needs of individuals with autism. These accommodations prioritize sensory-friendly rooms, visual supports, and trained staff to ensure a comfortable stay for guests with autism and their families.

Wingate by Wyndham

JH Adams Inn

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Supportive Staff

High Point’s accommodations and dining establishments have trained their staff to be autism-aware and provide a supportive and understanding atmosphere. The staff members are equipped with knowledge on how to communicate effectively and respond to the unique needs of individuals with autism, ensuring a positive dining and accommodation experience.

Carl Chavis YMCA

Hartley Drive Family YMCA

The Positive Impact of a Certified Autism Destination

Empowering Individuals with Autism

By becoming the first certified autism destination on the East Coast, High Point empowers individuals with autism by providing an environment where they can thrive, engage, and participate in various activities. This recognition promotes inclusivity and fosters a sense of belonging for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Boosting Tourism and Economy

High Point’s commitment to being an autism-friendly city has the potential to boost tourism and the local economy. Families seeking a destination that caters to the needs of individuals with autism are likelier to choose High Point, contributing to increased tourism revenue and creating opportunities for local businesses.

Inspiring Other Communities

High Point’s success as a certified autism destination serves as an inspiration for other communities. It showcases the positive impact of inclusive practices on individuals with autism and their families. By sharing their journey and best practices, High Point encourages other destinations to become autism-friendly and promote inclusivity.

Discover High Point, NC: The First Certified Autism Destination on the East Coast

High Point, North Carolina, has set an example as the first certified autism destination on the East Coast. By prioritizing inclusivity and understanding the unique needs of individuals with autism, the city has created an environment that fosters engagement, enjoyment, and acceptance. Families can explore sensory-friendly attractions, dine at accommodating restaurants, and benefit from a supportive community. High Point’s dedication to becoming an autism-friendly city enhances the lives of those on the spectrum and paves the way for other destinations to follow suit.


1. Is High Point, North Carolina, suitable for individuals with autism?

Yes, High Point is the first certified autism destination on the East Coast, making it a welcoming and inclusive place for individuals on the autism spectrum.

2. What are some sensory-friendly attractions in High Point?

High Point offers a range of sensory-friendly attractions

in High Point, North Carolina. These include interactive museums with hands-on exhibits, parks, nature reserves with accessible spaces, and art and creativity workshops designed to accommodate individuals with autism.

3. Are there accommodations available for families with autistic children?

Absolutely! High Point provides autism-aware hotels that understand and cater to the unique needs of families with autistic children. These accommodations offer sensory-friendly rooms, visual supports, and trained staff who can provide a comfortable and inclusive stay for families.

4. How does High Point support the autism community?

High Point goes above and beyond to support the autism community. The city organizes autism-friendly events throughout the year, providing inclusive opportunities for individuals with autism and their families to participate in activities and socialize in a supportive environment. Additionally, High Point offers support groups and therapy services specifically tailored to address the challenges associated with autism. Transportation accessibility is also a priority, ensuring that individuals with autism can navigate the city comfortably.

5. Can other destinations learn from High Point’s initiative?

Absolutely! High Point’s journey to becoming a certified autism destination serves as an inspiration for other communities. By sharing their experiences and best practices, High Point encourages other destinations to prioritize inclusivity and create welcoming environments for individuals with autism. The success of High Point not only enhances the lives of individuals on the spectrum but also demonstrates the positive impact that an autism-friendly approach can have on tourism, the local economy, and community engagement.

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