Meet Julia, Sesame Street's new character, who has Autism.
Meet Julia, she has luscious red hair and bright green eyes. She also has Autism.
Julia is Sesame Street's new character, soon to be joining fluffy favourites Fluffy, Grover and Elmo
Launched on Wednesday morning, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children is an initiative that aims to reduce the "stigma of Autism" and foster inclusiveness in children. The website provides some great resources for children, parents and education staff, including routine cards, a storybook staring the new character, and videos.
"Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied," Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, the senior vice president of community and family engagement at Sesame Workshop, told People magazine. "And with one in 68 children having autism, that's a lot of bullying. 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."
One of the videos stars a boy called Benny, who talks about how he is unique, as is everyone else. He goes through some of the things he likes and doesn't like. The video ends by Benny talking about something that he and other children have in common, they all 'want to have fun'!
What a fantastic initiative this is. Sesame Street has been a front-runner in promoting inclusion for some time now, often staring children in wheelchairs or who have other conditions that make them different. Including Autism will not only allow children who are neuro-typical to learn about inclusion, but also give children with Autism to relate to and look up to.
"Sesame Workshop is uniquely positioned to play a meaningful role in increasing peoples' understanding about autism," Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. "This project is an extension of the belief we've always promoted: 'We are all different, but all the same.' I am passionate about this initiative, and am so proud of the partnerships with the autism community that have led to this."
You can find Sesame Street's new website with resources at http://autism.sesamestreet.org/