Jan 21, 2016 2016-01-21
“A Sibling Story” is one of ten videos that are part of the latest Sesame Street initiative—Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. This web-based project also includes an interactive storybook that introduces the program’s first autistic Muppet, Julia, as part of an effort to teach children about their friends with the condition. The Muppets, siblings, and parents featured in the online materials explain autistic behaviors in ways that make sense to other children. The website also provides digital cue cards for parents to teach their autistic children basic skills, such as brushing their teeth and washing their hands. While explaining the challenges faced by children with autism, the videos show the commonalities of all children: The children are adored by their families. They have to say “thank you” to their parents, even if they have to do so in sign language. The children participate in typical childhood activities, including visiting diners and museums, riding tricycles down the block, and playing with train sets. Over the course of three years, Sesame Street Workshop—the nonprofit behind the TV series—developed this initiative with input from multiple universities, professional organizations, and advocacy groups, including the Yale Child Study Team, Autism Self Advocacy Network, Council for Exceptional Children, and Autism Speaks. Sesame Street worked closely with these groups to make sure that the viewpoints of autistic people are represented and that the program is based on solid academic research.