NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 4:47 PM
Julia’s arrival to Sesame Street comes with a plan to better educate the public about autism spectrum disorder while also providing affected families with tools and resources.
Sesame Street’s inner circle is growing by one new Muppet — an autistic girl named Julia.
The beloved children’s program introduced the adorable, orange-haired Muppet to the world on Wednesday while also unveiling their new initiative called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.”
With 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the award-winning show stresses the need for the public to learn more.
“While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not,” they state on their website while reporting that children with autism are five times more likely to be bullied than their peers.
Their initiative aims to provide families with colorful resources and interactive tools on ways to simplify everyday activities and overcome common challenges faced by those with ASD, according to their website.
‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children’ features Julia with her new friends Elmo and Abby.
The program, designed for children ages 2 to 5, features a free downloadable app containing a number of educational video story cards which provide step-by-step instructions on daily activities, from brushing your teeth to safely crossing the street.
There’s also an illustrated children’s book — containing a read-along feature — which shows the purple-pigtailed Muppet Abby getting to know Julia with Elmo’s help.
Children’s book author Leslie Kimmelman, who’s a mother to an autistic son herself, is the breath behind the book.
“More than 20 years ago, my beautiful son received the diagnosis of autism, and my world changed instantly and profoundly. I knew nothing about autism, and it seemed that those around me — even the professionals — didn’t know much either. Today, happily, that has changed,” she tells.
Among the tools and resources released by Sesame Street on Wednesday is an illustrated book which features the purple, pigtailed character Abby getting to know Julia with Elmo’s help.
“There’s greater awareness, and there has been much progress understanding autism. But it’s still a puzzle, and every child is affected differently.”
The “Sesame Street and Autism” initiative follows previous programs aimed at helping children and families handle difficult or sensitive situations.
Those include dealing with and understanding divorce, incarceration and those with family in the military. There’s also one to help children learn how to calm down and solve everyday challenges.