Langhorne, Pennsylvania's "Sesame Street"-themed amusement park is now the world's first certified autism-friendly theme park, boasting designated "low-sensory zones," and trained, knowledgeable staffers.
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Sesame Place partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to earn its classification as a Certified Autism Center.
To earn the certification, at least 80 percent of the staff must complete meticulous training on a variety of topics related to autism, including sensory awareness, motor skills, social skills, emotional awareness and more.
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“Sesame Place Team Members receive specialized training to ensure they have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to cater to all children, including those with special needs,” the park’s website states.
The designation offers "peace of mind" to parents, families and individuals, Meredith Tekin, IBCCES vice president of sales and marketing, told CNN.
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According to Tekin, sites must “meet the highest industry standards, including onsite reviews to make grounds and activities more accommodating as well as staff awareness and sensitivity training” to earn the title.
In addition to the park's downloadable sensory guide, which offers insight into how a child with problems processing senses may be affected on Sesame Place's various rides and attractions, guests will find quiet rooms available for a break from the sensory stimulation and noise-canceling headphones at the welcome centers for those with hearing sensitivity.
And don't forget to stop by and say hello to 4-year-old Julia, the orange-haired girl with autism who's as much "part of the gang" as Elmo and Big Bird.
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From the Sesame Place website:
“Julia highlights that while the differences between children with autism and their peers may seem significant, all children have something far more important: unique qualities and talents that make the world a more interesting place!”
Learn more about Sesame Place and its accommodations for children with autism at sesameplace.com.
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