Today, we have a wonderful reflection of diversity in the introduction of the first Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosed character on Sesame Street, Julia. The fact is that my child doesn’t have many role models in media to model his behaviors to peers. His sister doesn’t have many ways to explain to kids why he reacts the way he does.
The addition of Julia to the Sesame Street lineup gives the opportunity to open a discussion about diversity and inclusion. The statistics of diagnosed children, mitigate an conversation between caregivers, educators and parents to share how those children who have a different way of experiencing the world have a unique value in our lives.
My child is intelligent, sensitive, and sometimes has trouble making eye contact, hearing loud noises and expressing how he feels in a given situation. He has some stims like toe walking, arm flapping and other typical behaviors in people with this neurodevelopmental difference. I hope that this gives people a chance to have a conversation about how autistic kids experience the world in a slightly different manner. I look forward to a day when everyone can see the “amazing” that is in my child, and so many others with autism. This modeling with the muppets gives me hope that the day is not far off.