Sesame Street is, without a doubt, a highly acclaimed educational program that pairs knowledge and fun for kids to enjoy. Going strong since the late '60s, Sesame Street just announced their first autism character, who will hopefully bring more awareness and understanding.
World, say hello to Julia.
Featured in the new Sesame Workshop storybook We're Amazing, 1,2,3, Julia is a friend of Elmo's and Abby's who enjoys playdates like every other kid. Rocking bright orange locks, Julia might have a few differences, but she also has many similarities that make her awesome. Her presence will hopefully reiterate that children with autism make great friends.
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Julia is a part of a new initiative called Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children that aims to enhance both public awareness and understanding. With studies revealing kids with autism are five times more likely to be the victim of bullying, the folks at Sesame Street -- along with parents and partners in the autism community -- are looking to teach children the value in love and celebrating diversity. Their website, autism.sesamestreet.org, is full of interactive resources for children ages 2 to 5 to enjoy -- including online books, fun videos, and other takeaways that enhance autism awareness.
This is super awesome, and not just for kids, but also for parents. I'm a firm believer that education starts at home -- and my, what a statement like this can make. Many times, it has become easy to sweep things under the rug because you don't think it directly affects you. If we truly are about community, it's important to learn more about fellow members so we can help each other navigate through life a little easier. While autism in itself is a broad topic to navigate, I think this is a good start, and will help introduce the idea to children in a fun way that's relatable to them. Hopefully Julia will make some appearances on the show!
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Should you be all about friendship and seeing the amazing in others, you can join in on the action by using the hashtag #SeeAmazing. There's also "The Amazing Song" that puts the goals of the Sesame Street initiative to music (who doesn't enjoy a good tune?).
Image via Sesame Workshop/Facebook