I remember watching Sesame Street as a kid. It was smart, fun, and had a bunch of colorful characters that reflected my innermost thoughts and feelings at the time: C is for cookie! This is MY trash can! 1 bat! 2 bats! 3 bats mwa-ha-ha!
I loved Grover. And Oscar. And Snuffleupagus.
Now it’s got an autistic girl named Julia. And I think that’s great.
Face it people. We’re in an autism pandemic. Now that about 1 in 68 (!) kids has autism, it’s about time we saw a depiction aimed at kids on TV.
Sesame Street was always a forward-thinking show. It had a diverse cast long before other shows did. I remember reading that the South African version had an HIV+ character. It always reflected what was going on in whatever time and place it was in.
And they do a good job at it. Sesame Street is consulting with autistic children and their parents to make sure they get autism right. The initiative is called See Amazing In All Children. You can check out the storybook online.
Julia is friends with Elmo, who helps explain her a bit to the other kids. Like “Sometimes Elmo talks to Julia using fewer words and says the same thing a few times.” The book shows her lining her toys up like I used to do as a kid. It’s good stuff.
I’m going to have to watch a few episodes when she debuts. I remember how happy I was when I played my old 8-bit Nintendo game with The Count lining up numbers in his castle. I’m sure tuning in again will fill me with a similar joy.