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

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended