Connecticut Families Extra: Sesame Street’s ‘Julia’ teaches children about Autism

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Autism is a condition that can cause developmental delays, trouble with communication and repetitive behavior. In 2017, one of America’s most enduring children’s programs introduced a character with autism, and new research suggests a little information can go a long way toward making all kids feel included.

Meet Julia, one of the newest members of the Sesame Street family.  In a simple, direct way, the adult character helps explain Julia’s behavior to Big Bird.

David Cohen is the Director of Content Research at Sesame Workshop. In addition to the television show, Julia is featured in Sesame Street books and a new website. Among other things, it helps families with daily routines.

“Whether it’s going to bed. Whether it’s taking a bath or brushing your hair, brushing your teeth.”

Georgetown University and Children’s National Health System researchers surveyed 125 parents of children with autism and 300 parents of children without. All parents used the website for one to four weeks.

Parents of children with autism felt information from the website helped reduce parenting stress and increased their parenting competence and inclusion in the community.  Parents of kids without autism increased their acceptance and knowledge about autism.

For more information on the “see amazing in all children” website, parents can go to autism.sesamestreet.org. The information is also accessible in spanish.

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