Two years ago, Sesame Street introduced Julia, the first Muppet with autism, to fans. And now, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, the popular kid’s show is bringing in the whole family, along with a slew of other resources for parents and children on the spectrum.
In three new videos, including the “I Love My Family Song,” four-year-old Julia is joined by mom Elena, dad Daniel, big brother Samuel, and support dog Rosie. HBO and PBS Kids will also air a special segment on April 8 starring Julia and her family as she goes to get her hair cut.
According to Sesame Street, the episode was created to help families tackle everyday situations, like a haircut, that can be difficult for autistic kids. It’s part of the “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” initiative, which the show has been working on since 2015 with the help of over 250 autism experts and organizations.
“Children with autism often face unique challenges, as do their parents and siblings, ” explained Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “But every family faces challenges of some sort, which is why we are focusing on what all families have in common. In a family, everyone has different roles, challenges, and strengths, and everyone can learn from one another.”
Along with the videos, Sesame Street is releasing a new storybook, Circle of Friends, which tells the story of Julia standing up for a friend with autism who’s being bullied at camp. There is also an interactive game, Playground Pals, that teaches kids about kindness and empathy, and online articles and activities to teach families how to better support their autistic children.
Parents can find all of the new videos and free resources at autism.sesamestreet.org. Additionally, Barnes & Noble will be holding storytime events at 630 locations across the country on April 6 featuring Julia’s first book, Family Forever.