Sesame Place® is Now a Certified Autism Center

July 16, 2018 by Sesame Place Insider, Sesame Place

You may already know that Sesame Place is an autism-friendly theme park, but did you know Sesame Place® is the first theme park in the world designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC)? It’s our goal to provide every family with an enjoyable and memorable visit to Sesame Place, and we are proud to offer specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs! Want to learn more about our CAC designation and available resources? Check out the Q&A below!

Q: How did Sesame Place become a CAC?

A: 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 completion of this training now certifies Sesame Place as a CAC as distinguished by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Training focuses include: sensory awareness, motor skills, autism overview, program development, social skills, communication, environment, and emotional awareness.

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Julia CAC 

Q: What resources are available to guests who are planning their visit to Sesame Place?

A: Pre-visit planning resources have been added to the park’s website including a sensory guide, developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction.

Download Sensory Guide

Q: Does Sesame Place have quiet rooms?

A: Yes! Guests in need of some quiet time and relief from sensory stimulation can utilize one of our two new quiet rooms near Big Bird's Rambling River. These rooms have adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break. Quiet rooms are locked to ensure privacy for our guests. Guests who would like to use the quiet rooms can visit the Welcome Center to receive the code needed to enter. 

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Sesame Place autism friendly theme park

Q: If I do not need a quiet room, but want to find a low sensory are in the park, where should I go?

A: Guests in need of a more quiet location in the park are encouraged to visit the area behind the Sesame Street® Neighborhood as well as the area by the Mix 'n' Match Twiddle Tracks next to Ernie's Teeny Tiny Tidal Wave. While these locations are not designated quiet areas, they are often less populated areas of the park.

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Q: Do you have any programs for guests who may need special accommodations for rides?

A: Our Ride Accessibility Program (RAP) matches the individual abilities of our guests to the requirements of each ride. The RAP is designed to allow guests to fully participate in the enjoyment of our park while keeping in mind the safety requirements of our rides and attractions. Guests enrolled in our Ride Accessibility Program may be eligible to enroll in our Special Access Program, which allows guests to receive priority boarding on up to six dry rides and up to three water tower rides.

Download Guide

Q: Where is the best spot to enjoy the parade if my child wants a lower sensory experience?

A: Guests who want to enjoy the Neighborhood Street Party Parade without direct character interaction such as "hugs" or "high fives" are encouraged to sit closest to where our parade begins and/or several rows back from the parade viewing line.

Q: Does Sesame Place offer any additional resources for guests with sensory processing sensitivity?

A:  For guests with hearing sensitivity, Sesame Place is proud to offer noise-cancelling headphones, WhispEars™, provided by KidCo. Noise-cancelling headphones are available at the Welcome Center. 

Q: I want to dine at Sesame Place, but my child would need a low sensory experience. What can I do?

A: Guests looking for a quieter dining environment are encouraged to visit meal facilities during non-peak hours or ahead of meal time. For additional assistance or questions about visiting a restaurant during your visit, please contact [email protected]. For guests who want to book a character dine, but would prefer to have limited character interaction or seating furthest away from character performances, please contact [email protected]

Q: How does Sesame Place’s certification align with Sesame Workshop’s autism program mission?

A: Sesame Place’s certification aligns with Sesame Workshop’s mission to increase awareness and understanding of autism. Sesame Workshop debuted Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children in 2015 and Julia, the first Muppet character with autism. Julia made her debut at Sesame Place in 2017 as a walkaround character and is available for guest meet & greets.

Q: Who is Julia?

A: Julia is a sweet and curious 4-year-old with autism. The orange-haired girl with twinkling eyes sometimes does things differently, “in a Julia sort of way”, but Elmo and Abby help the other kids on Sesame Street understand that even if Julia doesn’t look you in the eye, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to be your friend. Simply by making Julia “part of the gang,” she is already having a big impact, helping to teach children and families all about acceptance. 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! 

Sesame Place autism friendly theme park

Q: Can I meet Julia?

A: Yes! You can meet Julia in multiple ways at Sesame Place. At 1-2-3 Smile with Me, you will have an opportunity to meet Julia and take a photo with her. On select dates, you can also meet Julia and create your own masterpiece by participating in Art Time with Julia and Elmo! Reservations are required. In Mr. Hooper’s Emporium, you can partake in Storytime with Julia! Storytime with Julia takes place daily, and you can check the park map on the day of your visit for story times. 

Q: Where can I find more information about Sesame Place’s designation as the first theme park CAC?

A: Sesame Place was featured on NBC Nightly News and CNN.

For more information about Sesame Place’s designation as Certified Autism Center, click here.