Family favourite Sesame Street has this week introduced their new friend Julia, their first character with Autism. Julia has joined the Sesame Street cast as part of a campaign to ‘see amazing in all children’.
‘Sesame Street and Autism’ has been created to help meet the needs of children and their families diagnosed with Autism as well as help educate the wider community. It has been developed with the help of parents, people involved in the Autism community and people with Autism themselves as a way to help families meet the often common challenges of living with Autism and help simplify regular every day activities.
Dr Jean Betancourt, the senior vice president of community and family engagement at Sesame Workshop told PEOPLE that “Children with Autism are five times more likely to get bullied and with one in 68 children having autism*, that’s a lot of bullying.”
In her debut episode, Julia and Elmo go on a playdate where Elmo helps the other children understand Julia’s special and unique qualities. In the episode he says “Elmo’s daddy told Elmo that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently. Sometimes Elmo talk to Julia using fewer words and says the same thing a few times… Oh, and sometimes Elmo waits a long time for Julia to answer.”
Dr Betancourt says “Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group.”
To learn more about this great initiative, you can visit the Sesame Street and Autism website here.
* Statistics from the United States of America.