If you have a child with autism, there may be no better theme park in the world to take them than Pennsylvania’s Sesame Place.
The amusement park, which is based on the beloved TV show “Sesame Street,” has been named the world’s first theme park to be certified for its care toward visitors with autism.
This month, which happens to also be National Autism Awareness Month, park officials announced that all Sesame Place staff members had completed autism sensitivity and awareness training, designating the park as a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.
The park’s staff was trained in all areas of sensory awareness, like environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development and emotions. Workers also completed an autism competency exam.
Here’s a bit more about what Sesame Place is doing:
Because they are now certified, Sesame Place promises it will be providing ongoing training to its staff members to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and temperament to interact with families and children with special needs, especially those on the autism spectrum.
According to the park’s website, other changes have been implemented, beyond staff training. For instance, park guests who get a bit overwhelmed and are in need of some calming can head to a quiet room, which has adjustable lighting and comfortable seating to give relief from sensory stimulation. Noise-canceling headphones are also available, ensuring things don’t get too loud for visitors that like things a little quieter.
The park also provides a downloadable guide for parents who wonder how each attraction at the park may affect their child’s senses.
This overhaul of its theme park isn’t the only measure “Sesame Street” has taken to be more inclusive of children with autism. Last year, the show introduced a character named Julia who has autism. Julia will be at Sesame Place for meet and greets with guests.
Sesame Park has been operating in Langhorne, Pennsylvania since 1980. The park’s new changes take effect when it reopens for the 2018 season on April 28. Last year, SeaWorld Entertainment, which runs Sesame Place, announced it would be opening a second “Sesame Street”-based theme park in the U.S. by 2022. Hopefully, that park will be just enjoyable for kids of all needs.
Would you make a trip to Sesame Park specifically because of these new changes?