Recently, Sesame Street has added a new member to its cast! Joining Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, is Julia—a character with autism. The newest addition to Sesame Street is intended to spread awareness about individuals with autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 U.S. children has a disorder on the autism spectrum. A 2014 CDC report states that about 1 in 42 boys have autism and 1 in 189 girls have autism.
The Sesame Street and Autism: See All in Amazing Children special is available via app or desktop computer. It contains daily cards and resources to help family, friends, and loved ones caring for a child with autism.
I am so excited to see such strides being made for supporting autism. It’s a much more popular disorder than many realize, and in one-way or another we all encounter autism. A friend’s child, a cousin, a reality star’s son, your child—awareness, research, and support needs to spread faster and stronger than the disorder.
What’s even better about this new program is the audience it will reach. The importance of children learning about autism cannot be stressed enough. Throughout my personal experience in elementary schools, sadly even in high school and college, people do not know how to properly speak and interact with those who have intellectual and autism spectrum disorders. Now, children watching Sesame Street can become educated on autism, learn how to speak and interact with those who have special needs, reduce ignorance, and spread support from an early age.
In the story, Elmo plays with Julia on the playground and helps friend Abby Cadabby comprehend that Julia plays differently than them and their other friends. Through patience and understanding, Elmo helps Abby understand Julia—a lesson we can all take note of. “Elmo’s daddy told Elmo that Julia has autism. So she does things a little differently. Sometimes Elmo talks to Julia using fewer words and says the same thing a few times” he says. When the friends venture out for a snack, Julia covers her ears once inside the store. Elmo explains to Abby that Julia has really good ears and hears things that he and Abby don’t notice, and some noises bother her. Simple lessons like this will teach children, and their parents, what autism is, what it is not, and how to be supportive to the millions of individuals who have a spectrum disorder
You can be encouraging and raise awareness as well!
- Sesame Street is using #SeeAmazing to encourage people to share their stories, videos, pictures, advice, and support on social media. This will keep the conversation going, and network of awareness spreading.
- Put up yard signs, sport a bumper sticker, or wear the puzzle piece apparel! A sign that says, “Autism awareness: Be understanding. Be aware” gives the right message to everyone who passes by.
- Join a crowd! Participate in an awareness walk, attend a rally, or look into the Autism Society’s events in your area.
- Be a friend, be kind, and be compassionate. If you know someone who cares for someone with autism, call and check up on them every now and then. If you hear someone say something rude or inconsiderate about autism, or any disability for that matter, address it. Don’t let the ignorance slide.
Author: Emily Simpson (Intern)
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AUTHOR: Jada Jackson, MS, LMHC – Dallas Fort Worth Arlington Texas Communicator, Coach & Licensed Mental Health Counselor working with couples, teens, young adults and women empowerment issues! If you are looking for Family Counseling in Dallas Texas or Therapy Services in Dallas Texas, Jada Jackson can be reached at (469) 757-5215 for a Complimentary 15 Minute Call.