Spotlight on Autism Awareness & Sesame Street's Julia

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

Join WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn host, Cynthia Putman as she shares about the topic of Autism, introduces Julia from Sesame Street, and shares tips for understanding Autism.  Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect approximately one in every 68 children in the US, but while the ASD diagnosis is common, the public’s understanding of ASD is varied.

Did You Know?

  • About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)
  • Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)
  • More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)
  • Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)
  • Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)
  • Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)
  • The first National Autism Awareness Month was declared by the Autism Society in April 1970.

The aim of this month is educate the public about autism. Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.

All children experience the world differently, and those differences are even greater for children with autism. As a parent or caregiver of a child with autism (or as someone who knows a person with autism), your understanding and support can help ease daily challenges…while celebrating the uniqueness of all children.

Sesame Street in Communities provides hundreds of bilingual, multi-media tools to help kids and families enrich and expand their knowledge during the early years of birth through six, a critical window for brain development.

To promote knowledge and acceptance of ASD children age two to five, Sesame Workshop created an online initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.

Sesame Workshop created the See Amazing in All Children initiative to promote understanding and acceptance of ASD and to provide resources to families with an ASD child to support their child in learning how to manage common situations that can be challenging for all children.

The website includes general information about autism and links to resources for families and the public. The website features narrated videos that reflect a diverse group of ASD children, an electronic storybook that features Julia, a new Muppet character who is Autistic, and eight daily routine card sets. The routine cards are designed to be used by parents with their child to build new independent living and community skills,such as brushing teeth or crossing the street. The website and the resource materials were developed to reduce stigma and build positive perceptions about ASD with input from autistic self-advocates, people who serve the autism community, and parents, filling a crucial need in our community.

Increasing knowledge about and acceptance of ASD in the general population allows people to better understand feelings, behaviors and needs of autistic individuals, which are the cornerstones of increased compassion, tolerance, and inclusion. Promoting knowledge and acceptance are key goals for the See Amazing initiative,


Sesame Street invites all parents, educators, and friends: Join our AMAZING conversation online! Share your stories, pictures, and videos on social media using #SeeAmazing. We can’t wait to see the amazing children in your lives

Putman shares how she uses the Sesame Street App-Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame that
helps a monster friend with big feelings learn to calm down and solve everyday challenges.

You are not alone. There’s help out there, and it’s okay to ask for it.

For additional resources, check out the following sites:

Explore Topics. Click on a topic for tons of resources that help kids (and parents!) with what matters most in young lives: health and wellness, social-emotional skills, and school readiness. All are critical to children's healthy development…and together they build the foundation for a happy, healthy life.

Check out games, apps, activities and videos


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

Workshops can be conducted in English and Spanish.