Sesame Place Theme Park Opens as Certified Autism Center

Sesame Place® San Diego, the only theme park on the West Coast-based entirely on the award-winning show Sesame Street, is now the first theme park in San Diego to open as a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC). Sesame Place San Diego also underwent an on-site review by IBCCES to provide additional insights and recommendations to enhance accessibility, including creating sensory guides for rides and attractions.

Designed for Kids to Laugh, Learn & Play

“Sesame Place is a theme park designed for families with kids of all ages to laugh, learn and play while making fun and memorable moments regardless of any special needs,” said Jim Lake, Sesame Place Park President. “This certification allows us to continue the legacy that Sesame Place Philadelphia began years ago becoming the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center… with the tools needed to accommodate anyone in the autistic community.”

As a Certified Autism Center™, Sesame Place San Diego commits to ongoing training for the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to interact with all families and autistic individuals. Training focuses on sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, emotional awareness, and a comprehensive autism competency exam.

Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Organisations like Sesame Place San Diego are critical to accomplishing our mission of inclusivity for all families, and they are helping lead the way…”

Pre-Visit Planning Resources Available

Helpful pre-visit planning resources are available on 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 outlining the degree to which an attraction or ride may impact the five senses. The park also has two quiet rooms that have adjustable lighting, and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break. Guests who want to enjoy the daily Sesame Street Party Parade without direct character interaction such as hugs and high fives are encouraged to stand closest to where the parade begins, designated as the “low sensory parade viewing” area.

Commitment to Increasing Awareness & Understanding of 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’s initiative in 2015 which was developed to offer families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections from family, friends, and community. The initiative includes a robust collection of online tools and resources featuring Julia, a 4-year-old autistic Muppet, designed to help autistic children and their families.

Julia, a 4-year-old Autistic Muppet Makes Her Debut

Julia made her debut at Sesame Place San Diego on March 26, 2022 and is available for guest meet and greets and photos. “Through Julia and her family, we’re able to model everyday moments and interactions from an autistic child’s perspective and provide tools and strategies to families,” said Ed Wells, Executive VP and Head of Global Media and Education.

For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognised that many families with autistic children or those with other sensory sensitivities may face challenges or hesitation when visiting a new attraction or destination. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and attractions. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based information as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals, other tools and resources to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has a lasting impact.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo