October 22, 2015 5:28 pm
Updated: October 22, 2015 5:31 pm

Autism Society of B.C. says Sesame Street’s character with autism is exciting news

ABOVE: There's a newcomer on the Sesame Street Block. Online producer Amy Judd explains how the groundbreaking children's television show is introducing a new character with autism.

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The Autism Society of B.C. is welcoming the news that Sesame Street has introduced a new character with autism.

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Julia is part of Sesame Street’s See Amazing in All Children initiative, which aims to break down barriers and reduce the stigma surrounding the increasingly prevalent condition.

“It’s very exciting,” said Anya Walsh, director of operations for the Autism Society of B.C.

“We’re really excited to see mainstream television bring autism to the forefront.”

For now, Julia is part of an online initiative aimed at helping children between the ages of two and five better understand the condition. She is in a new storybook for kids, which can be found online and in a free app alongside other interactive tools and resources.

“I just love that it’s inclusive,” said Walsh. “It highlights the commonalities [between all children] rather then the differences.”

The rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Canada is largely estimated, with many studies identifying average prevalence in North America around one per cent; some recent U.S. figures found that 1 in 68 eight-year-old children has been identified with ASD.

Walsh said she thinks the character of Julia will really help children with autism. “It will help them relate and help make them understand that they can be a part of friend groups and activities,” she said.

-With files from Tania Kohut

© 2015 Shaw Media

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