Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, will be the world’s first theme park in the world to be designated a Certified Autism Center (CAC) when it re-opens later this month.
The Sesame Street-themed amusement park partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to ensure it meets the needs of children with special needs and their families.
To achieve the CAC distinction, Sesame Place employees had to undergo autism sensitivity and awareness training, focusing on sensory awareness, motor and social skills, communication, and emotional awareness. In order to maintain the CAC designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), ongoing training must be completed every two years so team members have the necessary skills and knowledge to interact with families that have children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.
“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,” Sesame Place President Cathy Valeriano said in a statement.
The park will now have two quiet rooms on the Sesame Island section with adjustable lighting for children with sensory processing issues, as well as low-sensory areas and low-sensory parade viewing areas. Noise-canceling headphones will be made available throughout the park. Parents will also have access to a complete IBCCES Sensory Guide that details how children with sensory processing issues may be affected by each ride and attraction.
Children will also get the chance to meet Julia, a Muppet with autism, who was introduced last year.
“The response from the autism community to' See Amazing in All Children' has been extraordinary, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote understanding and acceptance of autism, as part of our mission of helping all children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder,” Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, Sesame Workshop, said following Julia’s debut.
Just in time to close out Autism Awareness Month, the park re-opens for its 38th season on Apr. 28.