CREEPIEST Abandoned Amusement Parks!
This Theme Park Just Became the First One That’s Autism-Friendly
Staff members have been specially trained to help individuals with autism and give them a more inclusive experience.
By Allison Fox
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April 24, 2019
Sesame Place, a theme park based on the popular television showSesame Street, is the first amusement park in the world to be distinguished as a Certified Autism Center.
The distinction was granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) earlier this month, and the park, located just outside Philadelphia, opens for the season this Saturday, April 28. The designation marks a turning point for people with autism and their friends and families.
The designation in large part involved educating Sesame Place staff about how to meet the needs of people with autism, says Cathy Valeriano, Sesame Place's park president. “Our team is better trained and better equipped to assist families [of those with autism] and give them an inclusive experience.”
The certification from IBCCES means that roughly 80 percent of the employees on the ground at Sesame Place have the knowledge, awareness, temperament, and skills to assist families and children with special needs, and specifically children on the autism spectrum, according to IBCCES. The robust training focuses on sensory and emotional awareness and communication, motor skills, and social skills. Park employees must pass an autism competency exam and retrain every two years to keep the certification, according to IBCCES.
The park will have a sensory guide that visitors can download before coming to the park to map out their day based on their sensory sensitivity, Valeriano says. The park created two “quiet rooms” for guests who want to relax or take a break from all the stimulation. Noise-canceling headphones will be available at the park’s entrance, which can help people with sound sensitivities navigate the theme park more comfortably. And 4-year-old Julia, Sesame Street’s first character with autism, will be at the park to greet guests.
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