The first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center has opened to much delight in the United States.
Sesame Place, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a selection of rides, parades, shows and water attractions for kids to enjoy. Visiting at theme park is a thrill for many families, but for kids with autism, the sounds and visual stimulation can sometimes be overwhelming.
Sesame Place has made sure all of the rides at the new theme park, which opened on April 28, are accessible.
All of the staff at Sesame Place are fully trained in autism sensitivity and awareness including sensory awareness, emotional awareness, communication, motor and social skills. The theme park includes quiet rooms, low sensory areas to unwind and special noise-cancelling headphones.
Online resources such as the sensory guide and Ride Accessibility Program help parents prepare for their day at the theme park and determine which activities work best with their child’s individual needs.
“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 park president Cathy Valeriano said in a statement.
Judging from the photographs posted on social media from the opening day, it has been a huge success.
“@SesamePlace Had a blast today,” wrote Chris on Twitter.
“Thank you @SesamePlace for choosing to say “yes” to kids like Seraphina. Autism affects our lives in a pervasive way but with your understanding staff and leadership tomorrow looks brighter. #ASD #Autism @autismspeaks,” wrote Ellie.
In 2017, Sesame Street introduced the first autistic Muppet, Julia. The company hopes to use Julia to speak to kids and adults about inclusion.