In the last 20 years, the number of kids with autism has increased, so Sesame Street has done a wonderful thing. They’ve introduced a new character with autism named Julia! This is because Sesame Street agrees that it’s very important to teach children how to interact with new friends who may have autism.
Introducing Julia and her mission to show why she’s very similar to other kids, with just a few extra things to take into consideration! Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Nisonger Center agree with Julia. According to these researchers, learning to interact with children with autism is so essential for kids and can help children with autism thrive. So, in the style of Sesame Street, here’s the ABCs of interacting with a child who has autism.
Julia’s New Game
In this video, Julia introduces a new game called Boing Boing Tag
Sesame Street and Their ABCs of Interacting with Autistic Children
A: Always be patient.
Children with autism may get stuck on a topic of game. Teach your child to take cues from their friend. While it’s okay to gently encourage the child to move away from the activity, your child should be willing to continue if their friend with autism doesn’t want to change. Show your child how to delicately suggest a way to play the same game in a slightly different way.
B: Be observant.
Encourage your child to get to know their classmate and understand the types of activities that they most enjoy. When children with autism are involved in structure activities that they feel confident doing, it is a safe and positive experience.
C. Communicate in different ways.
Many times children with autism have different ways of communicating. If they get upset a child with autism may use expressions or sounds instead of verbalizing their emotions. Teach your child to be aware of how their friend communicates and be open to different forms of interaction.
Research shows Shakespeare play helps children with Autism. Experts at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center believe from stage to screen, the art of acting and imitating can help children with autism feel more comfortable with themselves. I have personally observed this in action, as I’ve had students in the past who’ve shown great benefits from acting in plays.
Either way, introducing a character with autism is smart and good for all children. Sesame Street has, once again, shown progressiveness when it comes to including all children! Special thanks to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for bringing this important update to light.
Comments from Facebook Fans:
“I think this is absolutely wonderful and will help to bring our country closer to embracing and seeing beauty in others’ differences. It’s a beautiful thing. It brought tears of joy to my eyes to watch Julia, as I have a daughter on the spectrum.” ~Amber
“It’s amazing! It not only provides a character many children can identify with, it also allows a useful dialogue for inclusion, respect, and acceptance.” ~Susan
” I think this is great. It can help children understand autism more and hopefully help everyone become more aware and accepting I have two on the spectrum. I only wish this would have happened 6 years ago.” ~Kayla
“Children at this age notice differences in a non-judgmental way. They are naturally curious, they just want to know why. By presenting it in classic Sesame Street fashion they will be able to relate better when (not if) they have a classmate on the spectrum. We have been lucky my son has had classmates that “get” him and include him at his level. Hopefully, with a little help from the Sesame Street crew this will become common for all children on the spectrum.” ~Audrey