On April 10th, Sesame Street will premiere its newest Muppet, Julia. Julia is a 4-year-old with autism. Julia’s arrival to Sesame Street is part of an ongoing initiative to raise awareness and understanding of autism, which originally launched in the fall of 2015.
The initiative, called Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, was created after long calls from advocates to help bring visibility to the families and caregivers of children with autism.
“For years, families of children with autism have asked us to address the issue. We heard a call to use our expertise and characters to build a bridge between the autism and neurotypical communities,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, SVP of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop.
Julia may be familiar to some – she first made friends with Elmo and Abby in a digital form through the online storybook We Are Amazing, 1,2,3!, written by Leslie Kimmelman, whose son has autism. The story’s message teaches children that there are different ways that the friends play, interact, and be amazing. A print version of the book is planned for January of 2018.
To create the See Amazing initiative, the Sesame Workshop spent five years learning more about the condition that affects one in 68 children in America. So far, responses to Julia and the See Amazing initiative have been very positive.
“Bringing Julia to life as a Sesame Street Muppet is the centerpiece of all of our new materials to support families of children with autism,” said Sherrie Westin, EVP of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “The response from the autism community to See Amazing in all Children has been extraordinary, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote understanding and acceptance of autism, as part of our mission of helping all children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”
Find great resources about autism at the See Amazing website, have fun coloring with the Julia, Elmo and Abbey printables below, and don’t miss Julia’s first day on Sesame Street on April 10th on CPTV!