‘Sesame Street’ Introduces Julia’s Family For Autism Awareness Month
Welcome to 'Sesame Street'!
April is Autism Awareness Month, and the folks over at “Sesame Street” are celebrating in a major way — by introducing the world to Julia’s family. Julia was the first-ever “Sesame Street” character with autism to be introduced to the show. She came to the Sesame Street App in 2015 and officially became a member of the TV show in April 2017.
But now, it’s time for “Sesame Street” fans to meet her family, including her older brother Sam, her mom, her dad and her dog, Rose. This is part of an initiative to let others know that not all families look the same, and that families dealing with autism have their own special set of problems to deal with, but also have their own special bond.
“We know families that have children on the spectrum, they face unique challenges. But more importantly, there’s so much they share,” Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president for U.S. social impact, Jeanette Betancourt, told “Good Morning America.”
Say hello to Julia’s family and see what a busy morning looks like for them in this video from the “Sesame Street” YouTube channel:
As you can see, Julia’s family looks a lot like many families rushing off to busy days, and that’s the point.
“Children with autism often face unique challenges, as do their parents and siblings. But every family faces challenges of some sort, which is why we are focusing on what all families have in common. In a family, everyone has different roles, challenges, and strengths, and everyone can learn from one another,” Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement, according to “GMA.”
According to Autism Society, one of the best ways parents can deal with one of their children having autism is by communicating openly and honestly about it with other family members, especially if they have other children. “Parents can help their family by informing their other children about autism and the complications it introduces, understanding the challenges siblings face and helping them cope, and involving members of the extended family to create a network of help and understanding,” the website states.
And with shows such as “Sesame Street” tackling these issues, too, dealing with autism can become even more commonplace and accepted, especially amongst other children.
Back when Julia’s character was first introduced in 2015, Betancourt told People magazine that the goal was to reduce the “stigma of autism.”
“Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied,” Betancourt told People. “And with one in 68 children having autism, that’s a lot of bullying. Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group.”
Hopefully, Julia and her family can do just that.
To the latest member of the “Sesame Street” family — it’s so nice to meet you!