"Receiving an autism diagnosis is just the first step in creating a better future for a child on the spectrum, and there are multiple benefits to getting that early diagnosis," said Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger. Which is why Sesame Street Workshop — the global nonprofit behind Sesame Street — is partnering with The Ad Council and Autism Speaks in helping parents learn the early signs of autism through its awareness campaign staring Julia, a muppet with autism herself.
According to the CDC, the overall prevalence of autism in the US is one in 59 children, and though autism "can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 18 months," many children don't receive a diagnosis until they're between 4 and 5 years old.
"Research shows that early intervention can have a positive impact in so many ways, and we are dedicated to helping parents learn the signs and feel empowered to help their children lead their best lives," Geiger said. And this multimedia public service campaign seeks to do just that by providing parents with resources — in both English and Spanish — to "identify the signs of autism, access an autism screening questionnaire, seek information from Autism Speaks's Autism Response Team, and find supports for before, during, and after diagnosis."
Keep scrolling to see the sweet spots featuring Julia and her Sesame Street friends, which highlight Julia's sensitivity to noise and her delayed speech as signs of autism.