Sesame Street is taking BIG steps while celebrating Autism Awareness Month. On April 28th, Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, will open the first theme park in the world known as a Certified Autism Center (CAC).
Sesame Place is now equipped with staff fully trained in autism sensitivity and awareness. There will still be Sesame Street themed rides, parades and shows, but now guests will have access to autism-inclusive attractions like quiet rooms and low sensory areas. According to a Mashable article, staff members were also trained in sensory awareness, motor and social skills, communication, program development and emotional awareness.
Also in the Mashable article, written by Nicole Gallucci, she states “Sesame Place also makes a plethora of planning resources available online, such as travel information, a Ride Accessibility Program, a sensory guide, and more, so that families can make the most of their time at the park by determining which activities work best with their child’s individual needs”.
The park was able to become autism friendly by partnering with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). They are a global online training and autism certification center that trained employees and allowed Sesame Place to make history.
Sesame Place Park President, Cathy Valeriano, said in a statement “As the first theme park in the world to complete the training and become a CAC, Sesame Place is better equipped to offer families inclusive activities for children with autism and other special needs”.
This is not Sesame Street’s first experience with making strides in the autism community. Back in 2015, Sesame Street took part in the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative. The Sesame corporation’s efforts to educate and raise awareness on autism.
For Sesame Place to keep their certification, staff members must receive autism training every two years. The park is responsible for making sure employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to interact with families and children who have autism or other intellectual disabilities.