Welcome To Our Autism Friendly Resort
Ocean Creek Resort is proud to have been the very first Champion Autism Network (CAN) Certified Resort in the country. We welcome Autistic Spectrum Disorder families to enjoy a vacation at our resort, with the assurance that we will take care of their entire family as if they were our own.
Some examples of how our resort can accommodate these families includes, but is not limited to:
- Curbside check-in for families who cannot come into the lobby and wait in line.
- Having your child's favorite foods available and ready at our restaurant.
- Remove all breakable items from your unit.
- Secure commodes and doors in your unit.
- Ensure we have gluten-free options available during your stay.
- Customized housekeeping service times.
When booking, please let us know that you are an ASD family and what needs your family has. Our staff will work with you to customize your vacation experience.
Learn more about our training and personal experiences below, with a note from our general manager, and ASD mom, Sabrina Hilliard.
Autism Training, Awareness and Autism-Friendly Culture at Ocean Creek Resort
In February of 2017 we had the pleasure of meeting Becky Large who is the founder of Champion Autism Network. Champion Autism Network has a mission to make our area more Autism friendly and welcoming to ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) families. Most ASD families do not usually leave their comfort zone so if they go to restaurants it is often the same restaurants for example. A lot of families do not travel on vacations other than to other family homes. Becky thought that if Ocean Creek Resort could go through Autism Friendly Training and Awareness, that we might be able to encourage families to break out of that comfort zone and create family memories and experiences they might not have made before.
So in March of 2017 Ocean Creek Resort was one of the very first Myrtle Beach resorts that successfully completed the two-day training. The staff made me so proud because they had true interest. Yes, it was a meeting all had to attend, but they genuinely cared and wanted to be part of something bigger. The sticker on the front door, which is proudly posted, has started a conversation for our guests and owners. They are spreading the word and we actually had a few ASD families who found out afterwards and they were humbled and excited that we were dedicated to families like theirs.
We just completed our second annual training which this year was much more interactive. Becky, Wynn and Jason from Champion Autism Network actually let us experience what it would be like to be in the mind of someone with Autism. We had to play a card game with very fast speed, while the lights were flickering on and off, horns were being tooted to distract us and feathers were used to tickle our necks. For the first time, I was able to experience what it would be like to be in my own son’s head.
Our staff is ready and prepared to help every family have a great vacation and to make wonderful lifetime memories. We can do anything from removing all breakable items to securing commodes and doors to ensure additional safety. We can make arrangements to prepare to have favorite foods available and ready at the restaurant and our chef can make sure we have gluten-free options available as well at our resort restaurant. Housekeeping can plan to service the unit when it is best for the family. We can make curbside check-in available for families who cannot come into the lobby and wait on line.
It all starts with a conversation. I personally love to be the contact for families with children on the autism spectrum. There are so many benefits of being an ASD mom but the best is talking to another ASD parent. We really appreciate each other. We share very similar experiences and it’s hard to explain but we just “get” each other. It is like being a part of a society, a club or a team. We just naturally look out for each other because we get it. What’s great about our training and our staff is they are getting it too. I am blessed that Ocean Creek staff has embraced our movement not just as their general manager, but as an ASD mom. Awareness is what makes the world better and we are ready to make it better for ASD families too.
-Sabrina Hilliard, Ocean Creek Resort General Manager and ASD Mom