Julia is also Sesame Street's very first character with autism - and for several really important reasons which you can read about in this article...
Joining the fuzzy and totally adorable likes of Grover, Elmo and Abby is Sesame Street’s latest cutie Julia, the very first muppet who has autism — and for a very important purpose.
Julia is part of Sesame Street Workshop’s new initiative to “reduce the stigma of of autism” — Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.
Especially for families with kids aged two to five, this very special initiative, according to PEOPLE Magazine, also includes a free downloadable app that “that incorporates video, digital story cards designed to make daily life tasks easier for families of children with autism and storybook materials for providers, organizations and caregivers.”
Speaking to PEOPLE, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt who is Senior Vice President, Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop, says,
“Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied. 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.”
Both the app and online videos explain what it’s like to have autism from the perspective of a child with autism.
Explaining this educational stance of the initiative that took researchers three years to develop, Dr. Betancourt says that this is what makes their project so unique.
“When we explain from a child’s point of view that there are certain behaviors, such as slapping their hands or making noises, to express excitement or unhappiness, it helps younger children to understand how to interact with their autistic peers. It makes children more comfortable and therefore more inclusive.”
The initiative is not just for the autism community though.
Find out on the next page how all parents can benefit from the information contained in this initiative, and watch the adorable video of the song Be Amazing.