Why I Will Be Watching 'Sesame Street' as an Adult


“Sesame Street” has a new character, a 4-year-old named Julia. Not only does this adorable new personality have bright orange hair and enthusiasm for life, she also has Autism. This is something many of us having been waiting for.

When I heard about this, I immediately searched for every video and article I could find to learn more about this new character and the show’s push for inclusion and acceptance. This show has been a wonderful platform to teach life lessons to children and “Sesame Street” has done it again.

Julia is Elmo’s friend, a bright character who is immediately accepted into the “Sesame Street” family. While Julia gets along well with the other characters, she does things a little differently at times. She covers her ears when loud noises overwhelm her, flaps her arms when she is excited, and sometimes avoids eye contact with others. I especially love how real the show is making this character. They are not trying to cover anything or pretend she doesn’t have a disability — instead they embrace everything that makes Julia unique. There have been times when I’ve watched people in the community seem uncomfortable, unaware of how to interact with someone with a disability. This is when we often see people with disabilities treated like tragic heroes or victims. In “Sesame Street” everyone simply embraces Julia. They acknowledge and accept her differences, and are quick to explain that while Julia does have autism, it simply makes her “just Julia.”

I am 20 years old and you can bet I will be watching “Sesame Street.” I am eager to see what situations and experiences Julia will have on the show, and how other autistic traits might be portrayed. This is a huge step for the already inclusive cast of “Sesame Street” and I can’t thank them enough. I am eager to see upcoming episode and watch this new story-line unfold. To those inside the disability community, I know some of us are doing our own little happy dance right now.

For those who do not have a child with a disability, please use this as a tool to teach your children about autism and other disabilities. Teach them these individuals do have differences, just like everyone else has something that makes them unique. Teach them not to be afraid of the child with autism in their classroom, but instead be a friend and peer advocate. Children are curious, let them be curious. Show them it is not only okay to reach out to a child with disabilities, but encouraged. And adults — nobody is too old to watch “Sesame Street.”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by: “Sesame Street” Facebook page

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Illustration of man and woman sitting together on bench in park with autumn trees in the background

To the Man Who Brought Me Stim Tools on Our Second Date

On our first date, I awkwardly tossed my stim tool in the air and told you what it was. I’d just bought it from Stimatstic and was very excited. During all of the excitement of a first date and having a new stim tool, I somehow lost the tool. Perhaps by the waterfall under the [...]
Profile of man wearing glasses, looking toward clouds in sky

How Autism Helps Me Be Mindful

Mindfulness is an essential skill for self-development, as it allows for the silent observation of thoughts, and the filtering of the negative from the positive. The starting point of any thought is an observation, either immediately or sometimes long before it. So it follows that the more potent the observations, and the more aware of [...]
vector illustration of comb silhouette

Wendy Williams and Identity Salon to Offer Sensory-Friendly Haircuts

Over the past year, multiple retailers – from Toys ‘R’ Us to Costco – have announced one-off sensory-friendly quiet shopping hours. While these events are certainly a step in the right direction, people on the autism spectrum and sensory sensitivities need to go shopping and get the same services everyone else does, and they need [...]
A cartoon showing a meeting of mythical creatures, shows a mermaid gesturing to a vial, stating, “I’d like to welcome our newest member to the group, the vaccine that causes autism.”

Bizarro Cartoon About Autism and Vaccines Sparks Outrage Among Anti-Vax Community

For 32 years, Dan Piraro has been illustrating cartoons for Bizarro, a nationally syndicated cartoon panel appearing in over 350 daily and Sunday newspapers. On March 8, Piraro published a cartoon about autism and vaccines. The result, he said, caused more controversy than any other cartoon in his 32-year career. The cartoon, which illustrates a [...]