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Sesame Street Introduces a New Character Who Has Autism

Sesame Street Introduces a New Character Who Has Autism


There is a new kid on the block and on this street everyone is welcome! Her name is Julia and she is like any other energetic, fun loving, curious girl. She also has autism.

Introduced online this week, Julia is Sesame Street’s newest member, and to many families, will likely become its most important one. Part of a major new Sesame Workshop initiative aimed at de-stigmatizing autism, she joins the world’s most famous street to help convey lifelong lessons about tolerance, acceptance and friendship. The initiative, called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” campaign is focused on providing autism awareness to parents, children, teachers and caregivers.

As part of the initiative, Sesame Workshop launched a website (sesamestreet.org/autism) that provides resources and related activities to the autism community. A digital book featuring Julia highlights her friendship with Elmo, Grover and Abby, and their road to understanding Julia’s similarities and differences. The site also provides adaptations for autistic children, including larger buttons, audio-off options and content that can be customized for individual use.The prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These new Sesame Workshop resources offer targeted online articles about issues such as interacting with parents of a child with autism and how to maintain a healthy balance while caring for an child who has autism. Additionally, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children provides daily routine cards that simplify tasks for children, such as brushing teeth and washing hands. There is also an iPad app available on iTunes.  



One of the online resource’s main features is a collection of videos profiling families living with autism and offering a glimpse into their daily triumphs and challenges. The compilation provides a reminder that although autism is an uphill battle both physically and mentally, families and loved ones continue to promote positivity, patience and tolerance. These videos, created by the Sesame Street production team, were edited with the help of students who attend Exceptional Minds, a non-profit animation studio for young adults on the autism spectrum.

Sesame Street’s “See Amazing in All Children” is funded by 14 partner organizations and will continue to spread awareness and most importantly love as they share information and resources within the autism community and beyond.

No word yet on when Julia might make her TV debut on Sesame Street.

Related:

Find local resources for children with autism.

Find programs for kids with special needs.

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Amanda Lehrman

Author:

 Amanda Lehrman is an elementary school educator, currently teaching a Gifted and Talented program to second through fifth grade students. In addition, she worked with individual districts to implement various forms of professional development and reading intervention programs. Amanda is also a literacy consultant and freelance writer. 

 
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