Sesame Place Is the First Autism-Certified Theme Park
Sesame Street kicked off Autism Awareness Month with a major announcement: Its theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, called Sesame Place, is the first park in the world to be designated a Certified Autism Center. Once the park opens for the season on April 28, the special needs community will be greeted by a staff that is trained in autism sensitivity and facilities that better cater to sensory issues.
To become certified, Sesame Place teamed up with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), which administered the autism sensitivity training to staff. The park’s staff will need training every two years to maintain its status as a Certified Autism Center, making sure all employees have both the skills and temperament to interact with families with special needs—autism in particular.
In terms of facilities, guests can expect designated low sensory areas, along with two quiet rooms with adjustable lighting when they need a break. Parents can better plan their visit by checking out the downloadable IBCCES Sensory Guide, which explains how each ride and attraction in the park might affect someone with sensory processing issues. Plus, once you arrive, the Ride Accessibility Program matches guests with rides that are appropriate for them.
And of course, there’s Julia. The autistic character joined the Sesame Street cast last spring, and she’ll be available for meet-and-greets for all guests.
“Sesame Place is honored to be leading the theme park industry through our commitment to making our facility friendly for families with children on the spectrum,” Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano said in a statement. “We’re dedicated to providing all of our guests with an exceptional and memorable experience. We look forward to applying this training and expanding our commitment to help spread awareness about autism.”