Julia is the first 'Sesame Street' character with autism. See how she's bringing kids together.

Meet Julia, the first character with autism on "Sesame Street."

Julia (center) with Abby Cadabby and Elmo. Image by Sesame Workshop, used with permission.


She was introduced Wednesday as part of the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children campaign. Julia's story will be told online in a digital resource hub complete with videos, music, an interactive storybook, and printables geared toward kids ages 2 to 5.

The resources explain what it's like to have autism from the child's point of view.

Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, president of U.S. Social Impact for Sesame Workshop shared with People magazine why this perspective is so vital.

Image via Sesame Street in Communities.

"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 therefor more inclusive."

With this new character, "Sesame Street" hopes to create empathy, raise awareness, and put an end to bullying.

According to the National Autism Association, kids with autism are particularly vulnerable to bullying due to potential differences in social interactions and motor and communication skills.


All GIFs via Sesame Street in Communities

But to encourage understanding and empathy, Julia and her fuzzy friends will celebrate what makes kids different and showcase the amazing things they have in common.

And how did they kick off the project? With a song of course!

"The Amazing Song," that is. It's the perfect way to welcome new friends to "Sesame Street," or your not-so-fictional neighborhood. And while it's tailor-made for kids, there are helpful lessons for us grown-ups, too.

♫ We all are still growing, we all need a hand. ♫

♫ We all need a friend who can understand. ♫

♫ We all are important and we all are okay. ♫

♫ We all are amazing, each in our own way. ♫

Young or young at heart, we're all touched by autism in some way.

1 in 68 children fall on the autism spectrum, so this is an issue affecting many families and communities. Resources like this can help us celebrate and encourage these amazing kids and be a supportive voice for inclusion and positive representation.

See the cheerful, heartfelt video for yourself. (Dare you not to smile!)

More
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food