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Sesame Street Theme Park Becomes First To Be A Certified Autism Centre

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Sesame Street Theme Park Becomes First To Be A Certified Autism Centre

Sesame Place has become the first theme park to be designated as a certified autism centre.

The news was announced on World Autism Awareness Day, which was yesterday. The Philadelphia park is based on the long-running television and says it wants to 'provide every family with an enjoyable and memorable visit' - the accreditation means that staff will regularly undergo training in order to learn how to best interact with children with autism and their families.

Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano said in a statement: "As the first theme park in the world to complete the training and become a CAC, Sesame Place is better equipped to offer families inclusive activities for children with autism and other special needs."

The accreditation was awarded to the park by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBBCES).

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In a press released, Sesame Place said: "Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam."

The park will also be adding two new 'quiet rooms' which will be fitted with adjustable lighting, noise cancelling headphones and comfy seats and will provide families with a sensory guide to the park.

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Sesame Street added its very first autistic character last year - named Julia. Julia, who is four, was introduced to the show in March last year.

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Speaking at the time, Sherrie Westin from the Sesame Workshop - the non-profit behind the show - told the Guardian: "We wanted to address autism in general because of the growing number of children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"We felt that creating a character who was autistic would allow children to identify her but equally important, it would allow us to model for all children the differences and commonalities of a child with autism.

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"It was an opportunity to help explain autism and to help increase awareness and understanding."


The episode 'Meet Julia', saw Big Bird saying 'hello' to Julia who didn't respond and carried on with what she was doing.

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"I thought that maybe she didn't like me," Big Bird said.

But Elmo added: "We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird.

"It's just that Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things."

Featured Image Credit: Sesame Place

Topics: TV and Film, US News, Theme Park, Autism

Claire Reid
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