BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sesame Street has added a new character to it's show to help children understand autism. A local autism expert talks about the impact the show will have on children relating to those living with autism.
"One in 68 kids can be identified with an autism spectrum disorder," Co-Director of the Institute of Autism Research at Cansius College Marcus Thomeer said. "So little kids when they get into pre-school are going to meet kids, or hear about kids or they might know a kid on their street, even in their family that might have autism."
Sesame Street has a new character named Julia and she has autism. The long-running children's program launched a new online initiative, See Amazing in All Children, to teach kids ages two to five how to better understand children living with the disorder.
"What Sesame Street is showing for kids is that language can sometimes be a problem, their connection with other kids can be a problem as well as they show the connection, these kids don't really necessarily connect," Thomeer said. "It's not they don't want to play. It's that they don't know really how to play."
The Sesame Street and Autism Initiative says children with autism are five times more likely to be bullied than other children. An online workshop is also available to help families overcome common challenges and simplify daily activities for children living with autism. Thomeer says autism awareness is growing and the earlier we learn about the condition, the better.
"The fact that autism is much more identified and prevalent in society, then it's a good thing for them to learn at an early age what autism entails and some of the features and characteristics that these kids exhibit," Thomeer said.
Sesame Street is using the hashtag "SeeAmazing" to encourage people to upload videos and share their stories about autism.