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New tools helping all parents better understand autism

Meet Julia: Sesame Street includes autism
Posted: 2:01 PM, Feb 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-21 14:19:55-05
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Autism is a condition that can cause developmental delays, trouble with communication and repetitive behavior.

In 2017, one of America’s most enduring children’s programs introduced a character with autism, and new research suggests a little information can go a long way toward making all kids feel included.

Meet Julia; one of the newest members of the sesame street family. In a simple, direct way, the adult character helps explain Julia’s behavior to Big Bird. David Cohen is the director of content research at Sesame Workshop. In addition to the television show, Julia is featured in Sesame Street books and a new website. Among other things, it helps families with daily routines.

Cohen told Ivanhoe, “Whether it’s going to bed, taking a bath or brushing your hair, brushing your teeth.”

Georgetown University and Children’s National Health System researchers surveyed 125 parents of children with autism and 300 parents of children without. All parents used the website for one to four weeks. Parents of children with autism felt information from the website helped reduce parenting stress and increased their parenting competence and inclusion in the community. Parents of kids without autism increased their acceptance and knowledge about autism.

“It gave them the words to explain to their child what was going on,” explain Cohen.

For more information on the “See Amazing In All Children” website, parents can go to www.autism.sesamestreet.org . The information is also accessible in Spanish.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.