Come and Play…Everything’s A-OK!

By Ilana Bernstein

Sesame 1

In a new online storybook, Sesame Street is helping people understand autism. The story, titled We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3, introduces Elmo’s autistic friend Julia. Together they explain how Julia sometimes acts a little different than others—like reacting to noises that don’t bother most kids or taking extra time to make eye contact—but, ultimately, she just wants to play and have fun like everyone else.

The storybook, which can be read at autism.sesamestreet.org , was written by Leslie Kimmerman, a mother whose son was diagnosed with autism over 20 years ago. “I knew nothing about autism, and it seemed those around me, even the professionals, didn’t know much either,” Leslie shares. “Today, happily, that has changed. There’s greater awareness, and there has been much progress understanding autism.”

“What’s the most important thing for people to know? We’re all different in some way or another—that’s what makes the world an interesting place.” —Author Leslie Kimmerman, We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3

The We’re Amazing story is just one small part of a larger initiative, called See Amazing In All Children, which aims to help families affected by autism overcome the challenges they face in daily life while also educating others about the disorder.

Watch this: A Sibling Story

In a People magazine interview, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Street senior vice president of U.S. social impact, shares, “Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied, and with one in 68 children having autism, that’s a lot of bullying.”

“Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group.” —Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Street senior vice president

Are you affected by autism in your life? What do you think of Sesame Street’s new autism initiative? Let us know in the comments section below.

Reprinted with permission from girlslife.com. Illustration courtesy of Sesame Street.

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