‘Sesame Street’ Expands Autism Resources

by Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop | October 7, 2021

“Sesame Street” Muppet Julia, who has autism, is central to the online initiative “See Amazing in All Children.” (Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop)

“Sesame Street” is offering up a host of new resources designed to help children with autism and their families.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the television show, said it is expanding its collection of online materials featuring Julia, a 4-year-old Muppet with autism.

The rollout includes an animated video where Julia learns to cope with her fear of the dark as well as coloring and activity sheets and a set of “Good Night” routine cards to help kids create a bedtime schedule.

“Autistic children and their families are facing unprecedented challenges this year, and Sesame Workshop is here to help kids create healthy routines, develop self-regulation and calming strategies and build resilience,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop.

In addition, Sesame Workshop is adding content aimed at the Chinese American autism community. There are Mandarin and Cantonese versions of the digital storybook “We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3” that show how Elmo and Abby Cadabby learn to engage with their friend Julia. The nonprofit is also introducing articles addressing the unique challenges of being a Chinese American child with autism.

The resources are part of the “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” initiative. The offering, which originated in 2015, was developed to support families of those with the developmental disability and increase public awareness.

The new animated video was created by Exceptional Minds, a studio that trains adults on the spectrum for careers in animation and similar fields. And, the materials for Chinese Americans were produced with Friends of Children with Special Needs, an organization that emerged out of the Chinese American community in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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