Addressing autism, Sesame Workshop initiates new resources including animated short ‘Backyard Camping’

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit media and educational organization expanded their ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children’ initiative with a new animated short Backyard Camping. It features Julia, a four-year-old ‘Sesame Street Muppet’ with autism. In partnership with Exceptional Minds, an academy and studio preparing young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in animation and beyond, they are launching a new animated video alongside other resources.

The video features Julia as she learns how to handle her fear of the dark by drawing what she’s afraid of- helping her brother along the way. This video was written, produced, and animated by Exceptional Minds’ team of artists on the autism spectrum. 

They have produced new printables and coloring and activity sheets, including good night routine cards to help children develop a healthy bedtime routine.

“The Exceptional Minds team of artists on the spectrum continue to showcase their writing, producing, and animation talents on our latest Sesame Workshop short, Backyard Camping. This project amplifies the workplace skills of our amazing artists while shining a light on autism inclusion. 80 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, but with Sesame Workshop’s continued partnership, we are changing that,” said Exceptional Minds executive director David Siegel. 

Sesame Workshop continues to expand the breadth of the ‘See Amazing in All Children’ content library based on feedback from advisors and community members. In an effort to better serve the Chinese American autism community, they are partnering with Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN). Jointly they will launch Mandarin and Cantonese adaptations of the We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3 digital storybook featuring Elmo and Abby Cadabby learning different ways to play with Julia and help their friend feel safe and comfortable. 

Two new articles written by FCSN will be available for families and providers on the unique challenges Chinese American children with autism face.

“Autistic children and their families are facing unprecedented challenges this year, and Sesame Workshop is here to help kids create healthy routines, develop self-regulation and calming strategies, and build resilience. We know the importance of collaborating with the autistic community as well as their families when creating new materials, which is why we teamed up with Exceptional Minds and Friends of Children with Special Needs to launch these new resources today,” said Sesame Workshop US social impact senior VP Dr. Jeanette Betancourt. 

“Children with autism need to be understood and embraced by communities around the world. FCSN is honored to partner with Sesame to translate this important book about Julia, a child with autism, into Chinese languages. Our hope is that this will start to remove cultural stigma associated with autistic children in the Chinese community and help make the world a more welcoming place for them,” said FCSN co-founder and VP Anna Wang. 

Sesame Street is their pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. The organisation is active in more than 150 countries. Sesame Workshop has partnered with Exceptional Minds since 2015, starting with Emmy-nominated Benny’s story.

‘See Amazing in All Children’ was developed in consultation with over 250 organizations and experts within the autism community.