A Sesame Street character with autism, who was introduced online and in print to help raise awareness of the condition among children, is to join the show.
Julia – a pre-school girl who ‘does things a little differently’ – made her debut as part of the Sesame Street and Autism: Seeing Amazing in All Children initiative in October 2015.
Now a special ‘Meet Julia’ episode of the TV series will premiere 10 April on HBO and PBS KIDS in the United States and around the world on Cartoonito UK, Australia’s ABC network, and Mexico’s Televisa, with worldwide rollout planned within the year. New materials including digital videos, books, and ebooks will also be added to the See Amazing library, with the collection available in both English and Spanish.
Bringing Julia to life as a Sesame Street Muppet is the centerpiece of all of our new materials to support families of children with autism. The response from the autism community to See Amazing in All Children has been extraordinary, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote understanding and acceptance of autism, as part of our mission of helping all children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.
Said Sherrie Westin, EVP of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop.
In creating See Amazing, Sesame Workshop has worked for more than five years in consultation with over 250 organisations and experts within the autism community to address an increasingly prevalent condition. One in 68 American children is diagnosed with autism, and nearly every family is affected in some way.
Among the many creators and contributors behind See Amazing in All Children, Stacey Gordon, who performs the role of Julia, and Christine Ferraro, the writer of the ‘Meet Julia’ episode, both have close family relationships that helped them bring the character to life in a compelling, meaningful way.
For years, families of children with autism have asked us to address the issue. We heard a call to use our expertise and characters to build a bridge between the autism and neurotypical communities. So many partners, advisors, and organisations have contributed to the success of this initiative, and we are thrilled to have the benefit of this collaboration as we launch this latest chapter.
Said Dr Jeanette Betancourt, SVP of US Social Impact, Sesame Workshop.
New research commissioned by Sesame Workshop and conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center and Children’s National Health System, has evaluated the impact of Sesame Street and Autism on the autism community and beyond. Preliminary findings will be announced in April at an event in Washington, D.C.
Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Interactive Media. It has generated more than 1.6 million page views, with more than 400,000 users and over 30,000 app downloads to date. The ‘We’re Amazing 1,2,3!’ storybook is used by educators and service providers nationwide.