A Certified Autism Center (CAC) designation is usually given out to hospitals, schools, and childcare centers that have gone above and beyond to make themselves more accessible to clients with autism. Now, families affected by autism spectrum disorder can receive that same care and sensitivity when they walk into a theme park. Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania announced its CAC certification just in time for World Autism Day on April 3. When the park reopens for the season on April 28, it will be the first theme park in the world to bear that distinction.
To receive the certification from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the entire Sesame Place staff had to undergo autism sensitivity and awareness training. Each staff member is now versed in the environmental sensitivities that come with autism spectrum disorder, and they've been given the tools necessary to interact with kids with autism in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
The Sesame Place website now includes comprehensive resources that families of children with autism can use to plan their trips, including a sensory guide that rates the sensory intensity of each attraction on a scale of one to 10. Once they arrive, guests will find two quiet rooms in the park where they can take a break among soft seating and adjustable lighting.
The park's new status is just one way the Sesame Street brand is becoming more accessible to young fans with autism. Last year, the long-running children's series introduced Julia, the first Muppet with autism. Guests can meet Julia and the rest of the Sesame Street cast of characters when Sesame Place opens for its 38th season later this month.