Sesame Street launches major autism initiative

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Sesame Street has introduced its first character with autism (ASD) as part of a major initiative to help de-stigmatise the condition

Julia, a pre-school girl ‘who does things a little differently’, has made her debut as part of Sesame Street and Autism: Seeing Amazing in All Children.

The initiative includes:

  • An iPad app Sesame and Autism (available on iTunes).
  • A responsive website at org/Autism designed with adaptations such as larger buttons, audio-off options, and the ability for children to customise content.
  • New videos, including a music video, ‘Amazing’, with Elmo, Abby, Grover and their friends.
  • Digital and printed story books, We’re Amazing 1,2,3!, featuring Elmo, Abby and Julia.
  • Digital family routine cards that support everyday activities such as washing hands, brushing teeth, going to the supermarket, and bedtime routines.
  • Tips for parents, and activities for siblings.
  • Powerful videos of families with autistic children, produced by the Sesame Street production team with editing assistance by students at Exceptional Minds, a non-profit animation studio for young adults on the autism spectrum.

Seeing Amazing is the culmination of more than two years of production and testing and involved several partner organisations representing the autism community.

Sesame Street reaches 156 million children across more than 150  countries. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its mission is  to use the educational power of media ‘to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder’.

Autism affects 1 in 68 American children.

Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President, Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said:

‘Sesame Workshop is uniquely positioned to play a meaningful role in increasing peoples’ understanding about autism. This project is an extension of the belief we’ve always promoted: “we are all different, but all the same”.  I am passionate about this initiative, and am so proud of the partnerships with the autism community that have led to this.’

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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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