Dear Sesame Street,
I grew up watching you. I will never forget the letters and numbers of the day. Some of my favorite characters will always be Cookie Monster and Big Bird. I have many fond memories of Oscar being sullen and poor Snuffy needing to take his time.
When I heard that you are adding a new member to the cast, I was overjoyed. Julia, the autistic girl next door, will be welcomed with open arms in my home.
My youngest son is autistic and it is safe to say that he does things a little bit differently.
I am overjoyed that you have enough forethought to continue to develop programming that will make learning fun for children and puts their needs at the center. With autism rates soaring, it is time to put this issue on center stage.
When I read your announcement yesterday that stated:
Today we launched Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, our new initiative to help families and children ages 2 to 5 build an understanding and awareness around autism. Meet Julia, Elmo and Abby Cadabby's new friend. Julia has autism. In our new storybook, "We're Amazing, 1, 2, 3" — they learn how to play together, appreciate each other's differences, and celebrate their commonalities!
I was love-struck!
Autism is not a sickness, rather a different way for someone to view the world. It may take my son longer to work a math problem, tie his shoes, get his emotions in order, or make a decision, but now he can do that with a friend who lives on Sesame Street.
I want to say thank you. When I heard this announcement, it made me feel less alone. I guess hearing that a huge corporation like yourself understands the need to discuss that all children learn differently, live differently, laugh differently, and love differently makes my heart happy. I will forever be a fan.