CAC Certification Announcement Banner 2023

Museum Achieves Autism Certification and Partnership with National Autism Sailing Program

Thursday, May 25, 2023 (Toledo, Ohio) – The National Museum of the Great Lakes proudly announces the recent completion of autism training and certification through IBCCES designating them as a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC). 

“Statistics show that 1 in 6 people have sensory needs and 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all individuals,” explains Ellen Kennedy, the Musuem’s Education and Visitor Experience Director. “Our team of staff and volunteers have completed hours of autism sensitivity and awareness training to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to better understand and communicate with those who may have sensory sensitivities.”

In connection to achieving this certification, the museum has been actively searching for ways to increase partnerships with organizations supporting autistic individuals. This led to preliminary conversations with Spectrum Sailing—a nonprofit organization providing maritime education, programming and outreach for autistic children. 

“When we discovered that Spectrum Sailing was expanding their 3-day sailing camp to numerous stops on the Great Lakes and that the Toledo-area would be host to one such camp, we gladly jumped onboard,” shares Kate Fineske who oversees the museum’s community partnership work. “We plan to actively participate in this year’s camp, hosted by North Cape Yacht Club from June 13 – 16, and are offering a FREE Day at the museum for campers, their families and all the applicants who submitted registrations.

Moving forward, the National Museum of the Great Lakes plans to continue their support of the sailing program and grow their autism spectrum partnership work in Toledo and the Great Lakes region. By completing the CAC program, the National Museum of the Great Lakes joins Destination Toledo’s initiative to achieve the Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD) designation, which IBCCES awards to cities with a variety of trained and certified lodging, entertainment, and recreation organizations to better welcome travelers to the area.

Media interested in learning more about the National Museum of the Great Lakes, their partnership with Spectrum Sailing, or specifics related to their certification are encouraged to reach out directly to Kate Fineske at or 419-214-5000 ext. 202.


About the National Museum of the Great Lakes: Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society has been preserving our shared cultural history by publishing a quarterly journal Inland Seas® since 1945; by operating a maritime museum since 1952; by offering educational programs to the general public since 1956; by conducting underwater archaeological research across the Great Lakes since 2001; and by managing the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship since 2014 and Museum Tug Ohio since 2019. The opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes enables the Great Lakes Historical Society to continue its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes.

About Spectrum Sailing: Spectrum Sailing is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides maritime education, programming and outreach for autistic individuals through free sailing camps. After originating with one local program in Charleston, South Carolina, Spectrum Sailing has expanded every year since. The popular sailing camp is offered to autistic individuals at no cost thanks to the generosity of both the Autism and Sailing communities.

About IBCCES: Committed to providing The Global Standard For Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders—IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.