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Sesame Workshop Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month with New Resources on Belonging and Artistic Expression

April 4, 2023
Source: Sesame Workshop

New content features Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet with autism, sharing stories with her friends about creating art and what it means to belong.

Sesame Workshop kicks off Autism Acceptance Month today with new resources centered around belonging and artistic expression. With all-new content featuring Julia and her friends Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, and Rudy including videos, a storybook, and printable activity guides, the global Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative continues its dedication to showing that all children — autistic and neurotypical alike — are amazing in their own ways.

Created in 2015 in consultation with more than 250 organizations and experts within the autistic community, the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative aims to increase public awareness and acceptance of autism, foster greater empathy and understanding, and support families with free resources to help them navigate everyday moments. The new resources add to Sesame Workshop’s extensive library of content for autistic children and their families. Addressing topics from working together to celebrating being part of the community, the new resources include:

Two new videos featuring Julia and her Sesame Street friends: In Princess Paint A Lot, Julia, Abby and Rosita create a story together about a princess who loves to paint. And in Julia’s Needed, Elmo and Rudy need Julia’s help and artistic expertise as they paint a rainbow together.

A new storybook celebrating teamwork and belonging called “Julia and the Super-Sunny Celebration” is available digitally in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Three new printable pages encourage children’s creativity by prompting them to create a self-portrait and inserting themselves into different scenes from storybooks like “Family Forever” and “Super-Sunny Celebration.”

“We continue our commitment to autistic children and families by celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with new resources,” said Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “We work to create a world where all children are appreciated for who they are. 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 new resources, Sesame Workshop’s initiative is expanding through its themed entertainment partnerships. Throughout April, both Sesame Place theme parks, Busch Gardens, and SeaWorld Orlando will distribute free educational storybooks and offer meet-and-greets with Julia and friends. Sesame Place Philadelphia, the first theme park in the world to become a Certified Autism Center, recently completed Blue Bridge training for staff members on how to use strategies that promote positive communication and sensitive responses when autistic children need assistance in communicating and/or have sensory sensitivities. In Turks and Caicos and Jamaica, guests at Beaches Resorts can enjoy art activities and meet and greets with Julia at their three resort locations, all of which are Certified Autism Centers.

Internationally, marking the 5th Anniversary of Julia in Japan, Sesame Street Japan created a special version of the song, “We Belong” in Japanese with the Midories, a musical group of five children who appear on NHK’s Education show. The song, which was performed live at the Autism Awareness Day lighting of the Tokyo Tower on April 2, celebrates friendship and encourages a sense of belonging in a diverse society. Sesame Workshop continues to partner on a nationwide World Autism Awareness Day campaign with the Japanese national government and advocacy organizations across Japan. In Bangladesh, Julia joined Sisimpur friends, Halum, Ikri, Shiku and Tuktuki for the 15th season, which premiered in February and focuses on equity and inclusion.

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