Sesame Street has made a big effort to help children and families understand Autism better. Last year, the company brought Julia, the first-ever Muppet with Autism, from storybook to screen in order to help kids understand the disorder better. Now, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help spread autism awareness and end the bullying that children with the disorder often face.
Sesame Street’s child-centered non-profit, The Yellow Feather Fund launched the “Help Prevent Bullying” Kickstarter campaign. With the help of Elmo, the company announced that the fund is set up to help spread autism awareness and also help prevent bullying among children; as campaign page notes, kids with autism are five times more likely to be bullied.
The goal of the project is to make an “enhanced digital storybook” that will feature a kid-friendly story about understanding differences. As the show has done through Julia, the new book aims to give parents a tool to use when talking to their children about autism awareness and bullying. Kickstarter pledges will go towards crafting and distributing the book – which will be written with guidance from expert advisers – as well as funding translation and recording efforts.
In addition to Julia, the company has made strides in making its theme parks more accessible to those with the disorder. Recently, their Langhorne, PA-based Sesame Place theme park became the world’s first theme park to gain a Certified Autism Center designation. The park now boasts a handful of autism-friendly tools, such as quiet rooms and noise-cancelling headphones, which can help kids with sensory disabilities.
“Sesame Place is honored to be leading the theme park industry through our commitment to making our facility friendly for families with children on the spectrum,” said Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano in a statement. “We’re dedicated to providing all of our guests with an exceptional and memorable experience. We look forward to applying this training and expanding our commitment to help spread awareness about autism.”
In 2015, Sesame Street also launched Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, an autism awareness initiative. Through it, Sesame Street hoped to find ways to help those families “manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community.”