Certification readied for April’s Autism Acceptance Month and opening of the new park
• Hundreds of employees trained on sensory, environment and emotional awareness
• On-site accommodations include designated quiet rooms and low sensory areas
• Ride Sensory Guide provides insights on how a child with sensory processing issues
may be affected by each sense for rides and attraction.
San Diego, CA – 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). The International Board of
Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) grants the CAC designation to
organizations that complete staff-wide training and certification. 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.
“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. IBCCES provided a detailed curriculum and exceptional support to
help us train hundreds of employees with the tools needed to accommodate anyone in the
As a Certified Autism Center™, Sesame Place San Diego commits to ongoing training to ensure
team members have 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. The autism training must be taken every two years in
order to maintain the certification.
“We’re honored to continue our work with Sesame Place San Diego and appreciate the team’s
dedication to better understanding and welcoming autistic guests,” said Myron Pincomb,
IBCCES Board Chairman. “Organizations like Sesame Place San Diego are critical to
accomplishing our mission of inclusivity for all families, and they are helping lead the way as
part of the movement across the nation and the world.”
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.
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 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 made her debut at Sesame Place San Diego on March 26, 2022 and is available for guest
meet & 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 Vice President and Head of Global Media and Education.
“We’re proud that partners like Sesame Place share that vision and are committed to providing
accessible and memorable experiences.”
Throughout the month of April, Sesame Place San Diego will be celebrating Autism Acceptance
Month by participating in multiple autism-focused events throughout San Diego educating
residents about the park offerings and will have Julia and a Sesame Street friend join events to
meet and say hello to their fans.
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism certification for
healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized 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,
alongside other tools and resources to ensure the program is a long-term commitment and has
a lasting impact.
Delivering The Global Standard for Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES
provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve
the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the
leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.
About Sesame Place San Diego
Sesame Place San Diego is the second theme park based on Sesame Street in the United States and the
first on the West Coast. The park is ideal for families with kids of all ages and features 18 Sesame Streetthemed rides and exciting water attractions, including a family-friendly rollercoaster and a 500,000-
gallon wave pool – one of the largest in Southern California. The park also features an engaging musical
play area, an interactive Sesame Street Neighborhood complete with the iconic 123 Stoop, daily live
character shows, an award-winning parade, one-of-a-kind photo opportunities and of course,
everyone’s favorite furry friends. Celebrate with family-friendly special events throughout the year
including The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular and A Very Furry Christmas.
Source: Sesame Place
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