The deeply beloved Sesame Street crew has gained a new member and she's already making waves. Julia, a green-eyed, orange-haired muppet, is Sesame Street's first character with autism.
She's been introduced as part of Sesame Street Workshop's new initiative, Sesame Street And Autism: See Amazing In All Children. According to People magazine, the campaign "Aims to reduce 'the stigma of autism.'" Per People:
The initiative, created for communities and families with children ages 2 to 5, includes a free downloadable app that incorporates video, digital story cards designed to make daily life tasks easier for families of children with autism and storybook materials for providers, organizations and caregivers.
The stigma-busting will also extend to social media -- users can promote autism awareness using the hashtag #SeeAmazing.
The campaign hopes to educate kids and parents about autism and encourage empathy. "Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied," Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop, told People. "And with one in 68 children having autism, that's a lot of bullying. Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group."
Adorable muppets? Check. Promoting compassion? Check. Well done, Sesame Street!