WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — “Sesame Street” has usually experimented with new methods of educating kids about social points in addition to their ABCs since its launch almost 50 years in the past. Now it’s taking over a new problem: autism.
The groundbreaking public tv kids’s program is introducing a new character, a muppet named Julia who has autism, the present’s creators revealed on the CBS News present “60 Minutes” broadcast on Sunday.
Diagnoses of autism have risen steadily in recent times to the speed of 1 in each 68 US kids, in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But tackling the subject for kids was removed from easy.
“The big discussion right at the start was, ‘How do we do this? How do we talk about autism?’” Sesame Street author Christine Ferraro informed “60 Minutes.”
“It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism.”
The episode introducing Julia consists of some frequent situations.
When Big Bird is launched to her, she ignores him. And when a gaggle of kids resolve to play tag collectively, Julia turns into so excited she begins leaping up and down.
“That’s a thing that can be typical of some kids with autism,” Ferarro mentioned.
But the state of affairs turns right into a new sport during which all the youngsters soar round with Julia.
“So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is,” Ferraro mentioned.
As for different characters, the present performed in depth analysis, together with consultations with educators and baby psychologists, and on this case autism organizations, to perceive how greatest to normalize autism for non-autistic kids.
Julia’s puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, additionally occurs to be the mom of an autistic son.
“It’s important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like,” she informed “60 Minutes.”
“Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened.”
Although it’s not clear whether or not Julia will change into a significant character, “I would love her to be,” Ferarro mentioned.
“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism,” she added. “I would like her to be just Julia.”
© Agence France-Presse