Sesame Place Makes History With Autism Designation

The Bucks County theme park is the first in the world to become a Certified Autism Center.

Photo courtesy of Sesame Place.

The groundbreaking addition of a new character with autism was a major step for inclusion when Sesame Street introduced us to the cute-and-cuddly Julia in a 2017 episode of the classic PBS program.

Now, with an added emphasis on accommodating young children with special needs, the Bucks County theme park bearing the Sesame name has made history as the world’s first theme park to receive designation as a Certified Autism Center.

In becoming certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, Sesame Place is required to provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum. This includes areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam.

Employees must take autism training courses every two years for the park to maintain its designation.

“Sesame Place is honored to be leading the theme park industry through our commitment to making our facility friendly for families with children on the spectrum,” president Cathy Valeriano said in a release. “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 staff training, Sesame Place has also established a sensory guide to help parents map out activities and rides that are best suited for their children. This includes the park’s Ride Accessibility Program, which matches the individual abilities of our guests to the requirements of each ride. Two quiet rooms with adjustable lighting and cozy seating will be available to guests when the park kicks off its 38th season on April 28.

“Sesame Place is ideal because of its accessibility to families and convenient location, as well as everything the organization has done to be inclusive for all,” said IBCCES board chairman Myron Pincomb. “The CAC certification helps give parents and other guests on the spectrum peace of mind when visiting a new destination or attraction.”