4 things kids (and adults) can learn from Sesame Street's autistic Muppet

Julia, the new Muppet who debuted Monday on Sesame Street, has a bright red mop of hair, a sunny yellow face and big green eyes. She is adorable and we are smitten by her laugh, her love of singing and her inventive game of Boing-Boing tag. She also has autism, and the long-running show’s portrayal of the condition that affects 1 in 68 kids is sensitive and nuanced, a hint at the years of research that went into carefully crafting this lovely 4-year-old friend for Elmo, Abby Cadabby and the rest of the crew. A child watching might not notice the subtleties, such as how the other characters don’t ask Julia a lot of open-ended questions, but rather offer or choices or say things to elicit a re

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates