Kudo’s to Sesame Street…..again.
Julia, a four-year old with bright orange hair, a pink dress and a favorite toy rabbit called Fluffster, will make her big debut on the program on April 10th in an episode called “Meet Julia”. She has already appeared in Sesame Street cartoons and books, but this will be her first appearance on the famous children’s show.
Sherrie Westin, EVP of global social impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, said in a statement, “We wanted to address autism in general because of the growing number of children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. We felt that creating a character who was autistic would help children to identify with her, but equally important, it would allow us to model for all children the differences and commonalities of a child with autism.”
What an opportunity. Today, Sesame Street released a number of video clips featuring Julia. One shows her sitting at a table, painting with some of the other characters. Big Bird arrives and says hello to Julia, who carries on with her work rather than saying hello back.
“I thought that maybe she didn’t like me,” Big Bird said. “We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird,” says Elmo. “It’s just that Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things.”
Later in the episode, Julia becomes distressed when a siren goes off. “She needs to take a break,” the muppets’ human friend Alan calmly explains. Julia soon relaxes and the friends carry on playing.
Julia’s introduction is part of an initiative, “Sesame Street and Austim: See Amazing in all Children”.
As a parent of a child with autism, words can’t express how much I applaud the team at the Children’s Television Workshop for the thought and effort behind this. I only wish that my son’s friends had been able to see something like this when they were small – perhaps then, they would’ve understood better why he reacted the way he did in certain situations.
That said, it’s another stellar reason why Sesame Street is and HAS been the leader in children’s entertainment and education. What a great day! ~ Jason