Sesame Place, a children’s theme park located in Philadelphia, PA and based on the TV show Sesame Street, has become the world’s first theme park to be granted an accreditation for autism accommodation. The award was given after the park’s employees finished training on autism sensitivity and awareness.
In addition to employees trained in autism accommodation, Sesame Place also features quiet rooms for autistic children and a sensory guide which will help their parents plan visits. From the Sesame Place website:
Sesame Place® has partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), a global leader in online training and certification programs, to become the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC). 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.
Sesame Street, as the show which just about everyone watched as a kid, has been known for setting a precedent for social progress and acceptance, particularly on topics no other children’s show dared mention. Examples include featuring a realistic outlook on the death of Mr. Hooper in 1983, or Kami the HIV positive puppet who debuted in 2003. Last year, Sesame Street introduced Julie, the first character with autism to appear on the show.
Sesame Place is set to reopen for its new season at the end of April. Although it is the first theme park to receive an autism award, many other parks are quickly taking action to accommodate guests with autism. Legoland is one noteworthy example, having established quiet areas for children who need them, including those on the spectrum.