Meet Julia!

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“You are looking at me,” Declan said to the girl in blue shorts as she waited for her turn ahead of Declan on the slide.

The girl appeared to be about 7 or 8 years old.  She stopped for a moment and made a face.

“Yeah, cause you’re a dummy,” the girl retorted and put her hand on the top of the slide.

“You are still looking at me,” Declan returned matter-of-factly, with a look of confusion.

“Whatever,” and down the slide the girl went.

Once off the slide the girl in blue shorts collected her other girlfriends and down the hill they ran.

Declan continued to play until it was time to leave the playground.  I let him run ahead of me, but sped up when I heard Declan talking to girls and the tone was becoming negative.

“Your shoes are stupid!  Get them off my shirt!”

I caught up to see Declan stop and look down on the ground.  His ankles turned to the outside as he realized what he was standing on.   A couple of the girls had tripped in water, including the girl in blue shorts.  A sweatshirt was laid across the walking path to dry.

Declan began to run to get off the shirt.  The girl in blue shorts saw me and continued.

“And keep your stupid shoes off my shirt!”

“Hey, wait,” I intervened.  I addressed the girl in blue shorts, but neither she nor the other girls would look at me.

“He is not trying to be mean.  He has special needs.  He is on the spectrum.  No need to be mean to him.”

The girls did not acknowledge me and continued to dry themselves off.

Thirty minutes later as Declan and I waited for Catelyn’s sport practice to end, I saw the girl in blue shorts whispering to her mother and pointing at us.  Although the mother seemed unaffected by her daughter’s words, I had a pretty good idea of what the girl was saying.

Explaining Autism: Meet Julia

I have had little success rate in trying to explain autism in the situations where the other party has been annoyed by Declan’s behavior, child or adult.

Rarely does the annoyed person want to ask questions, or say, “Oh, I didn’t know.”

And some ears are just shut.

I still try.

But it got me thinking.  Could I try a different approach?

And as I pondered this question, another autism awareness outlet opened itself up.

Not only did the Power Rangers introduce the first superhero with autism, as I talked about here in this post.

But Sesame Street introduced their first character with autism, Julia.

I watched the clip below and was so thrilled to see this element of awareness.  To bring this character to the TV for children to watch to become acquainted with autism and Julia, the friend that is still there waiting to play.

I love how Alan introduces Julia.  I love how Julia repeats Alan and loves to play.  I love how her friends have taken the time to understand their friend and work with Julia to include her in their play.  And I love how Big Bird wants to be her friend too.

Until I can figure out how to start the conversation with kids, or other adults, who just aren’t ready to hear – I am glad there are now more outlets opening the door to autism awareness.  I may not be the voice that will open all ears to autism.  But those girls may have loved Sesame Street as kids.  And although they missed this message a whole new wave of Sesame Street watchers are out there, learning about autism.

And I am so excited to see autism awareness unravel in other media.  Who is going to be next?  And who is going to benefit from message?

I can’t wait to find out.

Check out the Sesame Street clip “Meet Julia” found here.  Definitely worth the watch!

 

 

16 thoughts on “Meet Julia!

  1. Sesame Street is such a champion of inclusion! I love this so much!

    As for the girl at the park, I’m not sure that there is anything that you could have said that would have changed how she interacted with your son. It sounds like she first needs a lesson in treating ALL people with respect and kindness, because no one deserves to be spoken to that way.

    1. I think you are right – I was hoping for a nod or something to acknowledge the words I was saying – even if she would take the words and think about them later. But she just wasn’t there yet. It really helps to think about those boys in the park that day that went out of their way to include Declan in their bottle flipping game – just second nature for them! I’d love for the two groups to meet! 😉 Sesame Street is awesome – just love what they did to promote autism awareness by adding a character with autism. And I really think they did a great job! Makes me smile 🙂

  2. Yay to Julia and Declan and Super – Mom! Keep up the good work.
    Just a thought: if you met on the playground, she could be in Declans school. Please do ask the school counselor what can be done. Most probably she’ll include it in her next round of talks with her classes.

    1. That is a really great idea – we were at the school Declan will be at when he gets to Kindergarten next year. But she looked elementary school aged. Thank you for the thought!

  3. I really enjoyed this and I feel your pain on Declan’s behalf. That little girl will grow up to be a horrid young woman.
    Keep trying to explain because there are some of us that are willing to listen. 😊😘🐻

  4. We are the parents that get the dirty looks while other parents are, if not teaching, then allowing intolerance. It does help to remember the inclusive kids. Hopefully Julia will help teach even more kids to be tolerant & inclusive. I do love Sesame Street. I identity with Oscar😉

    1. Yes – it is frustrating. We try to surround ourselves with the people that are tolerant and accepting, but those interactions that are unplanned can sadly go sour. So thankful to have had that experience with the inclusive bottle flipping boys. I was hoping for the same thing with Julia – just one more avenue (or street 😉 ) leading to autism awareness – and teaching kids, which is great – although I think the video would be great for some adults to watch too! Animal DANCE for me 🙂

  5. That clip was amazing I loved it. Parents really need to explain to their children that not all children are the same and being different is not a bad thing , it’s just different. 😉

    1. I agree! The friends in the video were so tolerant and accepting of their friend that was different – and willing to help explain their friend so she could make more friends. Love that this message is being sent out into the world!

  6. Think the Seasame Street character is better than the autistic Power Ranger (or whatever the kid’s movie was) for helping other people learn about autism. Seasame Street is a younger child’s introduction to life! The sooner they learn to be acceptive of others the better they will do in life.

    Kids that have grown up with putting different types of people in their lives sucessfully have a greater impact on the world as a whole. Face it there are all sorts of people out there. Different relegions, different colors, different nationalities, (could keep going indefinitely…) You get the idea. Was forced to grow up a few miles out side a tiny snotty white prejudiced town. Met my first people with a different skin color, religions, nationalities (fill the rest in) when I moved away to attend college out of state. Had absolutely no problems with the other people. You children have the benefit of having been intoduced to a variety of other people.

    1. I agree – the younger differences can be introduced the better. Because then they do not see differences as differences. My kids do not see skin color. Love that these ideas are being introduced at such a young age!

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