GOOD

Meet Julia—Sesame Street’s First Muppet on the Autism Spectrum

The iconic children’s show introduces a new character as part of their just launched #SeeAmazing initiative.

Marybeth Nelson / Sesame Street

After more than 40 years on the air, Sesame Street this week unveiled its newest character: Julia, the show’s first Muppet with autism. Julia joins Grover, Elmo, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang as part of the just-launched See Amazing in All Children initiative (and its accompanying #SeeAmazing hastag), designed by Sesame Workshop to provide a safe and positive educational space for children on the autism spectrum, as well as for their friends and families.


Given the prevalence of autism in children across the United States—1:68, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and an absence of comprehensive understanding in many communities as to what autism is and what it may entail, Sesame Street’s initiative is designed to foster “an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids,” as well as “[offer] families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities.”

Julia’s first appearance comes in We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3!, a picture book found on the See Amazing website. In it, she plays with fellow muppets Elmo and Abby Cadabby while they learn about autism. Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, explained to People:

“Families with autistic children tend to gravitate toward digital content, which is why we created Julia digitally. We want parents and children to understand that autism isn't an uncomfortable topic.”

In addition to the book, See Amazing features digital flashcards that help children on the autism spectrum learn routines for daily events such as brushing teeth, visiting restaurants, and going to sleep. Similarly, there are educational resources for families and friends of autistic children, to help them create a healthy and happy environment for everyone. And, this being Sesame Street, there’s singing, of course:

Ultimately, the goal of See Amazing is to highlight the commonalities that exist among kids everywhere, regardless of whether, and where, they may reside on the autism spectrum. Julia offers a friendly Muppet face for children who might otherwise be confused or scared by what they don’t understand about the condition. As the initiative explains on its website:

While the differences between people with autism and their peers may seem significant, children share something far more important: unique qualities and talents that make the world an interesting place.

[via people]

Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health