Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has been going on since 1968. Its goal is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder through launching initiatives that tackle different life aspects: education, values, health, and emotional well-being. On October 21, 2015, Sesame Workshop announced their new initiative Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, an initiative that seeks to raise awareness and understanding of autism.
For most kids, it's hard to understand why kids with autism act differently. This often results autistic kids being bullied, left out, and alienated from the other kids. The Sesame Street and Autism initiative changes the way everyone thinks of kids with autism through different multimedia platforms. The initiative isn't targeted to kids alone- adults are also encouraged to share their #SeeAmazing autism stories for a better and broader understanding of autism.
The Sesame Street and Autism website provides various guides for kids and adults: videos, articles, apps, print-outs, and many more!
The Amazing Song
"We all are amazing, each in our own way" - The Amazing Song
The Amazing Song spreads the message that kids with autism aren't different from other kids. Everyone's amazing in their own way and we should celebrate it! We may be different from one another, but in the end we are all the same- we all want to have fun and be happy.
#SeeAmazing Autism Stories
Sesame Workshop encourages everyone to share their amazing experiences with people who have autism through using #SeeAmazing. Sesame Workshop also released their own #SeeAmazing autism stories through video. There are two kinds of videos:
Autism Stories for Kids
To give kids an idea how autistic kids live their lives, Sesame Street shares their stories. The stories are led by Muppet Abby Cadabby.
Autism Stories for Adults
Unlike the autism stories for kids, the videos targeted for adults are more of testimonials. People featured in these videos work for Sesame Street and they share their experiences with their families and/or friends who have autism.
Julia, the Muppet with Autism
Aside from videos, this initiative also introduces a new Muppet, Julia! Julia is introduced in the We're Amazing, 1, 2 , 3! storybook, written by Leslie Kimmelman. The storybook shows how Julia interacts with other Muppets in different situations.
This isn't the first time Sesame Street introduced a special Muppet. Kami, an HIV-positive Muppet in South Africa, was introduced in 2002. "It's OK to touch someone with HIV", is one of Kami's memorable messages to children. Kami's presence changed the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS- just like how Julia will change the stigma associated with autism.
Daily Routine Cards
Kids with autism have difficulty communicating and expressing their feelings through spoken words. To aid families in interacting with kids with autism, Sesame Street created the Daily Routine Cards, an instructional interactive application. The Daily Routine Cards is a step-by-step storytelling app. Routines such as brushing your teeth, washing your hands, crossing the street, and others are taught in a step-by-step manner so kids with autism can easily understand without feeling uncomfortable.
Sesame Street encourages everyone to #SeeAmazing in all children. There is a need for everyone to understand autism. Because of the lack of understanding regarding this matter, kids with autism are often treated unfairly; no one deserves to be treated like that. We all act, see, and do things differently, but we're still the same in a lot of ways- that's what makes our world a great and exciting place to live in. To learn more about the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative, visit their website.