‘Sesame Street’ introduces first autistic character
Well-loved children’s show “Sesame Street” introduced its first autistic character in a bid to reduce the stigma associated with autism, People Magazine reported on Wednesday.
The character, which is named Julia, will be part of Sesame Street’s new initiative called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” which features videos, virtual storybooks and resources meant to help families and children with autism and educate the public.
Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impacts and philanthropy, said: “We want parents and children to understand that autism isn’t an uncomfortable topic.”
In the storybooks, Julia explains to her Sesame Street friends “how she likes to play a little differently from them.”
“If you’re five years old, and see another kid not making eye contact with you, you may think that child doesn’t want to play with you. But that’s not the case. We want to create greater awareness and empathy,” Westin told the magazine.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to bring people together and dissuade other people from bullying autistic children.
“We are trying to spread the story about the theory behind this whole thing—love and acceptance. Everyone is touched by autism, and by creating Julia, ‘Sesame’ is bringing children together,” senior vice president of US social impact, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, said. AJH/RAM
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