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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

‘Sesame Street’ introduces autism

In the campaign “Sesame Street and Autism: See All Amazing in Children,” a new character has been made to shine some light on children with autism. The latest friend to join Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Elmo, is Julia.

Julia has big bright green eyes and a smile that stretches from ear to ear. She’s just like all kids but learns a little differently. She has a little harder time communicating and may need things to be repeated a few times but no matter her differences, she is unique in her own way like every young boy and girl.

Julia, Sesame Street's newest character, hanging out with her new friend Elmo. Photo credit:

Many children grow up with autism, and there are a lot of people who don’t know much about the disease or how to socially interact with a child who’s autistic. Thanks to the friends of “Sesame Street,” many can become educated.

The program, according to CNN, is available as an app and can be added to your desktop. It will contain daily routine cards and resources to help family, friends and others who encounter children with autism.

Dolores Breed, a teacher who works with autistic children, believes the new character Julia will help children understand and be more familiar with others who have autism and realize there isn’t a need to be afraid when that child is having an episode. Especially since there are many different areas on the autism spectrum, knowing about the few common ones is beneficial.

When kids TV shows highlight differences of other children, it’s a great way to make children understand one another. Differences a child may possess are not bad. They make them more interesting and make us look at things from a different perspective. There is nothing wrong with not being like everyone else. If we were all the same, then what fun would that be? What could we possibly learn from each other then?

While it’s more common for boys to be diagnosed with autism than it is girls, according to a report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sesame Street” ultimately chose the character to be female.

Sesame Street specifically chose a girl character to show that autism can happen to anyone. Photo credit:

The News Observer talked to the show’s Executive Vice President Sherrie Westin who discussed how they took three years to create the newest friend.

“We made sure she was a girl namely because autism is seen so much more often in boys,” Westin said. “We wanted to make it clear that girls can be on the spectrum, too. We’re trying to eliminate misconceptions, and a lot of people think that only boys have autism.”

Julia will be sure to have a positive impact on children, not only to those who don’t understand it but also to those who do. It will allow children who have been diagnosed to have a way to feel connected to someone who will understand what they go through. They’ll think, “She’s just like me.”

Being able to relate to someone when you’re dealing with something others don’t understand can make things easier, and Julia, along with Elmo and all his friends at “Sesame Street,” will be sure to make a big impact for those who will take the time to listen and learn.

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