Sesame Place Will Become A Certified Autism Center & We Can't Wait For Everyone to Come and Play

Sesame-Street hasn’t always been a show to teach children their ABC’s and 123’s. Originally a program for low-income, urban kids, the show has expanded over its nearly 50 years to a force of social activism. While Cookie Monster still gets his sugar rushes and Big Bird’s as tall as ever, the show tackles representation by including a diverse cast of strong females, racially diverse characters, and individuals of various ability.

It’s no surprise, then, that Sesame Place, a Sesame Street-inspired amusement park, will become a Certified Autism Center. After partnering with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, the Pennsylvania park will be the first certified place for every family with an autistic member to enjoy. As a celebration to the end of National Autism Awareness Month, the park will open on April 28.

The park’s employees have received special training focusing on "sensory awareness, motor skills, autism overview, program development, social skills, communication, environment, and emotional awareness,” according to the park’s website. The staff will undergo training every two years to keep its certification, and new hires will go through training during their orientation.

Not only will the park include accessibility for physically disabled members, but it also has special “quiet” rooms. As the sensory stimulation can often be overwhelming, these big rooms offer a comfortable, low-lit place for guests to take a break in their play.

In the park, sensory guides will help families get a breakdown of all rides and attractions, putting all sensory stimuli on a 1-10 scale. Noise-cancelling headphones, low sensory areas, and low sensory parade viewing will also be available.

The experience is completed with the inclusion of Sesame Street characters in the park, especially Julia, an autistic girl introduced to the show last year.