Sesame Place recently completed a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training. The completion designates Sesame Place as a IBCCES Certified Autism Center (CAC). Sesame Place is now the first theme park in the world to receive such a distinction.
The Sesame Place Autism related certification aligns with National Autism Awareness Month. It comes as the park readies for its 38th season, opening on April 28, 2018.
What is IBCCES
IBCCES is the global industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options. In response, it created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.
Certified Autism Center
As a Certified Autism Center, Sesame Place is required to provide ongoing training. Training ensures team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to interact with all families with special needs. It also takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, and communication. Training also included motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness. In addition, there is a comprehensive autism competency exam too. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.
Explained by Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano, robust pre-visit planning resources will be added to the park’s website. It will include a sensory guide, developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan Sesame Place activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations. It’ll provide insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction. The park will also have two quiet rooms located on Sesame Island. These rooms will have adjustable lighting, and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.
Sesame’s Commitment to Autism
Sesame Place’s certification aligns with Sesame Workshop’s commitment to increasing awareness and understanding of autism. Sesame Workshop launched the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative in 2015. A special Autistic Sesame Muppet character, Julia, came to life on the award-winning broadcast last spring. This further cemented Sesame Street’s strong, continued commitment to the Sesame Place Autism community. Julia made her debut at Sesame Place in 2017 as a walkaround character as well.
Said Valeriano, “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.”