Parents of children with autism often feel alienated when it comes to kid-centric activities. There are certain childhood pastimes in which they hesitate to participate because they are just too great a feat for children with autism.
But what if there were a place little ones could play and have fun, without having to worry about their special needs?
Well, good news: There is!
Sesame Place, an amusement park dedicated to the beloved children’s series, has shown that their devotion to young fans knows no bounds. They have achieved a “Certified Autism Center” qualification.
The park, which is located in Pennsylvania, worked with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards in an effort to provide enjoyment and inclusion to the special needs community.
So what can you expect if you visit Big Bird and his pals at Sesame Place?
Trained Staff: The credentialing organization requires at least 80% of park staff members to receive specialized training in areas like sensory awareness, motor skills, and communication.
Sensory Guides: Highly-trained guides will be available to assist parents and plan activities for little ones.
Quiet Rooms: The park will have low-sensory areas for children who need a break from the stimulation.
A Ride Accessibility Program: This will allow children with mobility needs to join in the fun of rides.
Noise-Canceling Headphones: Children with noise sensitivities can pick up free headphones upon arrival at the park.
Low-Sensory Parade Viewing: Those who do not wish to receive hugs or physical touch from characters can still watch the parade from designated viewing areas.
This isn’t the first effort the company has made to include children on the spectrum into the wonderful world of Sesame Street. Last spring, they debuted a puppet with autism named Julia. Her role on the program has been to destigmatize autism and to facilitate greater empathy and awareness. Julia has been a hit in the autism community so far, and guests can even meet her if they visit Sesame Place.
I don’t know about you all, but next time I’m in Pennsylvania, I’m headed to Sesame Place. Three cheers for Sesame Street for continuing to promote a culture of inclusion.