The Sesame Street theme park in Philadelphia has received the world’s first autism certification accreditation.
The park, Sesame Place, is based on the world-famous television show Sesame Street which has been shown around the world for almost fifty years. The park received their accreditation after initiatives in staff development where all staff at the park underwent autism sensitivity and autism awareness training. The park includes quiet rooms for children as well as a sensory guide that will help parents and caregivers plan their visits to the park. This coincides with the television show introducing their first character with autism last year.
Sesame Place received their award as part of the US National Autism Awareness Month and is in preparation for its season–opening in April. While it may be the first park to receive the accreditation, many other parks across the United States are moving to adopt new changes to ensure their parks are accommodating to all visitors, including people with autism. In Mach 2017, another park, Legoland in Florida also introduced illustrated guides, quiet rooms and free passes to help people with autism and other conditions avoid lengthy ques.
Autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder or ASD, covers a wide range of conditions. Currently, there are no known cures for autism, and it is a lifelong developmental disability which affects language skills, physical behavior, and social interaction among sufferers. Asperger syndrome, a milder version of autism, children can have either above average intelligence or below average, while also still experiencing difficulties with social interaction and behavior. Many experts believe that the increases in ASD diagnosis aren’t due to external or environmental factors, but more likely due to better recognition of the conditions.
Sesame Place received their award from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The IBCCES is a body which provides international autism certification to health and education sectors around the world.