Sesame Street introduces first character with Autism

(WPRI) – Meet the newest Sesame Street character on the block! Sesame Street Workshop Wednesday morning introduced Julia, a character with autism, as part of a new nationwide initiative.

According to the program “Sesame Street: See Amazing in All Children” is, “…aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children 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.”

In effort to combat stereotypes, bullying and a lack of understanding about autism spectrum disorders, the show is certainly making strides by having a free downloadable app, which includes daily routine cards, digital story books, written tips and videos for families and caregivers. reports that researchers worked for three years developing the initiative and spoke with Executive Vice President of Global Impacts and Philanthropy, Sherrie Westin who explained, “Families with autistic children tend to gravitate toward digital content, which is why we created Julia digitally.”

The storybooks are used as a teaching tools. For example, Julia appears with her friend Elmo in one of the storybooks. When their friend Abby asks Elmo why Julia doesn’t like her after Julia doesn’t respond to Abby’s initial greeting, Elmo steps in and helps explain that Julia just goes about things a little differently. They then go about their day together learning from each other, laughing and having fun.

The famous children’s television program is even taking it one step further, by promoting awareness and encouraging engagement via social media with #SeeAmazing.

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