Sesame Street the popular and long running American educational children’s television series has a new initiative aimed at helping children with autism. It is called Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. As part of this initiative, Sesame Street is about to welcome a new character called Julia and she has autism.
See Amazing in All Children “will help increase understanding, reduce stigma, and demonstrate the commonalities that children with Autism share with all children. We will also develop resources for families of children with Autism to help them reduce the stress of everyday routines, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, trying a new food, or playing with other children.” Says Sesame Street.
The initiative, “offers families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities. At the same time, the project fosters an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids,” Have a look at the Amazing Song below which helps to emphasise shared experiences for all children.
“Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences,” says a Sesame Street representative Dr Jeanette Batancourt. “Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group.”
Julia is a digital character as research indicates that families with autistic children prefer digital animation. The character was developed with input from families with autistic children. She will be coming to your screens as part of the Sesame Street team very soon!
Julia will also feature in other media including books. The storybook We’re Amazing 1,2,3! is available for free. We’re Amazing 1,2,3!
In the book Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Julia play together. Elmo explains some of Julia’s unexpected behaviour to Julia and helps Abby to understand. There is an emphasis on what Julia has in common with Elmo and Abby and normalises her differences. This helps other children reading the book or having the book read to the, to better understand differences in children they know or may come into contact with.
To donate to the Sesame Workshop go Sesame Workshop.