Sesame Street is amazing. Who else can help explain autism to kids (and adults!) in such a simple, compassionate way?!
Julia, the first Muppet with autism, had her debut on the show. Alan walks Big Bird through all the things that makes Julia different -- her intense concentration that makes her miss Big Bird's hello, her extra creative way of playing, the "flaps" when she gets excited, and the real teaching moment when Julia has an anxiety attack from sensitivity to loud sirens.
Elmo and Abby Cadabby, who are old friends with Julia, tell Big Bird that sometimes she needs a break while the grown up helps Julia calm down.
I can't help but tear up a little at this home run from Sesame Street. One of my closest friends has a son with autism and I've seen how people look at his meltdowns in public. People assume it's just another bratty kid with enabling parents. A little education and little compassion go a long way when it comes to autism.
I've been lucky enough to meet this family and learn so much about patience and love when it comes to raising their sweet, athletic, rambunctious son who happens to have autism. Hopefully, people will start to see autism differently through Julia's big, friendly green eyes.