MEET Julia, the newest Sesame Street character to hit our screens, she is smiley, curious, loves to play, and she has autism.
Her character will raise awareness and educate children about autism, when she makes her television debut on 10 April in an episode called “Meet Julia”. You may have already seen her in Sesame Street online, but this will be her first appearance on the American children’s television show.
Julia’s character is part of a wider scheme run by Sesame Street to explore Autism. Amazing in All Children, is a nationwide initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5.
It has been developed with input from parents, people that work within the autism community, and people with autism. See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community. The website offers a range of resources for children, adults and professionals.
The National Autistic Society say there is Around 700,000 people living in the UK that may be autistic, although there is no official register or exact count. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties or traits, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live a relatively independent life while others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.
There are several studies which show that children and young people with autism may be more likely to be bullied. We hope that by introducing Julia to young children, they can learn to understand autism from an earlier age and develop empathy for children they meet who live with this disability.
World Autism Awareness Week runs from 27 March to 2 April 2017 you can get involved at www.autism.org.uk/get-involved