Sesame Place is now officially a place where children with autism can “come and play”. In commemoration of the US National Autism Awareness Month, the Philadelphia theme park has recently been designated as a Certified Autism Center. Sesame Place is based on the legendary children’s television show Sesame Street which introduced its first autistic character last year. It is the first park in the world to attain this accreditation.
Sesame Place collaborated with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to obtain the certification after its staff finished autism awareness and sensitivity training. IBCCES is an organization that awards international autism certification in the education and health fields. Sesame Place’s accreditation indicates that each employee receives ongoing specialized training to be equipped to serve special needs children and their families. The park is set to open for its 2018 season on April 28.
Autism, also referred to as autistic spectrum disorder, is a wide variation of conditions that engender challenges with physical behavior and social and language skills. Believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, autism is a lifelong developmental issue. Diagnoses have risen over the last few years, likely due to an increased awareness and understanding of autism.
Children who are autistic often experience sensory overload and become overwhelmed by loud noises, queues and bright lights. Sesame Place guests will have access to two quiet rooms, and an illustrated sensory guide will help parents determine how the attractions could impact their child’s sensory processing. The park will also provide noise-cancelling headphones, ride accessibility guides, low sensory areas, and low sensory parade viewing.