‘Sesame Street’ Adds To Autism Initiative

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Julia, a Muppet with autism, center, paints a rainbow with Elmo and Rudy in the “Sesame Street” video “Julia’s Needed.” (Sesame Workshop)

“Sesame Street” is ramping up its focus on autism with a collection of new resources and additional efforts at its theme parks.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the venerable television show, unveiled videos, a storybook and printable activity guides this week featuring Julia, a 4-year-old Muppet with autism.

In one video, Julia works with Abby and Rosita to make a story about a princess who loves to paint. And in another, Elmo and Rudy need Julia’s help to paint a rainbow. The storybook, which is available in multiple languages, is about teamwork and belonging.

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The online content is part of “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children,” an initiative that began in 2015 to support families of those with autism and raise public awareness of the developmental disability.

“We work to create a world where all children are appreciated for who they are,” said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop. “Through Julia and her Sesame friends, we demonstrate belonging to be more than simply being accepted. It is also being part of a community where each person is safe and valued.”

In addition to the online materials, Sesame Workshop said that it will offer free educational storybooks as well as meet-and-greets with Julia and her friends at Sesame Place theme parks, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Orlando in honor of Autism Acceptance Month in April. Art activities and meet-and-greets with Julia will also be available at Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos and Jamaica.

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