Meet Sesame Street's First Character with Autism
- By Amy Tribolet
Thanks to Sesame Street, more awareness is being brought to autism. Aside from the new character, Julia, Sesame Street has more content related to autism on autism.sesamesteet.org. Content on the site ranges from “daily routine cards,” to a storybook, reading materials and videos that reflect different relationships and songs.
According to the website, 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not.” 1 As a result of the lack of understanding, many children with autism are bullied and discriminated against. 1
One of the driving forces to creating Sesame Street and Autism was to show people to “See Amazing in All Children.” The See Amazing in All Children project was created with input from parents, people in the autism community, and people with autism. Offered through this project are ways for families to overcome challenges and simplify daily activities.
Unfortunately, Sesame Street is facing some criticism despite its overall effort to bring more awareness to autism. There is some criticism in that Sesame Street is not accurately portraying autism. Some criticism stems from the fact that the character with autism is a girl, which does not accurately portray the majority of people (boys) with autism. 2 Or the fact that the character only represent some of the traits associated with autism. 2
While this type of mainstream attention to a disorder that is often ignored is finally being received, is it wrong for Sesame Street to portray autism the way that it does? Should any attention be considered good compared to no attention at all? Is it fair to criticize Sesame Street for the “flaws” it has in portraying autism to children?
- Published on December 02, 2015
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