Find our free, bilingual autism resources at https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/autism/
In the United States, an estimated one in 54 children is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. But while the diagnosis is increasingly common, public understanding of autism is not. At Sesame Workshop, we know that all children want the same things: to feel safe, happy, and loved. And all children have something to contribute—unique perspectives and talents that help make the world a richer and more interesting place.
That’s why we created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, an initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from people with autism, parents, and providers who serve the autism community, See Amazing in All Children offers families free bilingual tools and tips to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community. We work with a host of partner organizations and community providers to make sure our materials are getting into the hands of families who need them most.
Julia is a four-year-old Muppet of Sesame Street with red hair and bright green eyes who loves to draw and play tag. She has autism, which friends like Elmo and Abby Cadabby will tell you means that sometimes she does things a little bit differently, in a “Julia sort of way.” She has quickly become a beloved part of the Sesame Street gang, appearing in episodes throughout each season.
Julia’s television debut was greeted with hundreds of media stories and an outpouring of support on social media. One awareness study found that nearly 52% of American adults were aware of Julia; among parents of children with autism, that awareness is even broader. And an impact study from Georgetown University Medical Center and Children’s National Health System showed that parents of autistic and non-autistic children alike benefited from our materials, from increased knowledge to greater acceptance to, for parents of autistic children, more hope about involving their child in their community. But the most touching marker of her impact has been the overwhelming response from the autism community and beyond. Parents say their autistic children have more playdates because of Julia. Teachers report that their students are more inclusive in their play. One mother told us that she used a storybook about Julia to explain to her daughter that she, too, has autism. Her daughter responded, “So I’m amazing too, right?”
We’re committed to supporting autistic children and their families. Each year, we add more research-based content to the See Amazing library. Last year’s release showed children that we can all be superheroes when we help one another—and, through Julia and her brother Sam, we saw that siblings can even be each other’s superheroes. April 2021 brings even more, with new videos and activities designed to help children and families cope with uncertainty and unexpected changes—like when a rainy day means Julia and her family can’t picnic outside after all!
Internationally, Julia is making a difference in places like Australia, Japan, and Mexico. Together, we’ll keep working to reduce the isolating stigmas and misconceptions that still surround autism, because every child is amazing.
When you support Sesame Workshop, you’re making a positive difference in the lives of children around the world. Join us!