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Sesame Place becomes first theme park to be named certified autism centre

The SeaWorld-owned Sesame Place theme park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has become the first theme park in the world to be designated as a certified autism centre.

Announced by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – an internationally-recognised body for autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators – Sesame Place will now complete staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training.

As a certified autism centre, Sesame Place will give the ongoing training to ensure that staff have the knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.

Training covers several areas, including sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, programme development and emotional awareness, as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.

“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,” said Cathy Valeriano, Sesame Place park president.

“We’re dedicated to providing all of our guests with an exceptional and memorable experience. We look forward to applying this training and expanding our commitment to help spread awareness about autism.”

In addition to training, the park has added pre-visit planning resources to its website, including a sensory guide, developed by IBCCES. The park will also have two quiet rooms located on Sesame Island. The rooms will have adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for visitors to take a break.

The certification is part of the Sesame Workshop’s commitment to increasing awareness and understanding of autism, something it demonstrated last year with the television debut of Julia, Sesame Street’s first ever autistic character.

“Since her debut, Julia has touched the lives of millions of children and families around the world and we’re proud that partners like Sesame Place are committed to providing autism-friendly experiences,” said Scott Chambers, senior vice president and general manager of North America Media and Licensing for Sesame Workshop. “We applaud them for earning this distinction.”

The accreditation follows that of New Orleans’ Audubon Nature Institute, which last month was certified by non-profit KultureCity as the US’s first sensory inclusive aquarium.

SeaWorld  Sesame Place  IBCCES  autism 
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The SeaWorld-owned Sesame Place theme park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has become the first theme park in the world to be designated as a certified autism centre. Announced by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – an internationally-recognised body for autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators – Sesame Place will now complete staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training. As a certified autism centre, Sesame Place
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Julia is Sesame Street's first ever autistic character
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