Sesame Street will be introducing its first character with Autism, Julia on April 10, 2017. Sesame Street has not introduced a new Muppet in over ten years, so Julia must be very important! The mission of the campaign, "See Amazing in All Children," is to teach people, not just children to be more inclusive and be more understanding of differences. Moreover, they hope to inspire new friendships. Julia will help young children to better understand that children with Autism share many of the same interests but sometimes express themselves differently. Julia is not supposed to be defined by her Autism, rather she is just another happy character on the show that also just so happens to have Autism.
Teaching children inclusion from a young age can have profound effects. Sesame Street is teaching understanding. Sesame Street is teaching how to really be a friend. Sesame Street is teaching children how to be a helpful friend. Every children's TV show should promote inclusion and kindness because ultimately the behaviors modeled in these shows are what children will learn and practice in their own lives.
video courtesy of http://autism.sesamestreet.org/video/amazing-song/
There's a lot that we can all learn from Sesame Street. Hopefully, we will all "play" together, like Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and Julia do. Focusing on strengths and interests over differences will lead us to live in a more caring and even more fun world.