On World Autism Awareness Day, Monday, April 2, Pennsylvania theme park Sesame Place announced that it was the first theme park in the world to complete training to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC).
The park's certification was granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). IBCCES says that Sesame Place is "the first theme park in the world to receive such a distinction."
Sesame Place is located at 100 Sesame Road in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. The park features rides, shows, parades, and full size characters and opens for the season on April 28 at 10:00 a.m.
The Sesame team members were trained in sensory awareness, motor skills, autism overview, program development, social skills, communication, environment, and emotional awareness, so that staff members can cater to all guests who visit the park.
One of the most helpful outcomes of this certification is the IBCCES Sensory Guide, which breaks down each of the rides' stimuli. This guide grades the rides in terms of touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight stimulation. The senses are scored from 1, which is a low stimulation, to 10, which is a high stimulation.
The park has quiet rooms for guests needing to recover from sensory stimulation from the rides. They also have noise-canceling headphones, or WhispEars, on a first come, first served basis for guests with hearing sensitivity. The park has special areas people can go to and still enjoy parades, without being overwhelmed with direct character interaction.
Guests can also take pictures with Julia, a Sesame Street character with autism.
Additional resources include Autism Travel, which can help parents explore travel options, and a workshop called See Amazing in All Children, which offers tips to simplify daily life and grow support in the community.
Sesame Place has many more options to accommodate with guests needs. Click HERE to learn more.
The park's website states, "It is our goal to provide every family with an enjoyable and memorable visit to Sesame Place, and we are proud to offer specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs."