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April is Autism Awareness Month

Ribbon showing interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces in red, yellow, blue, and purple

30 years ago, the National Autism Society created program devoted to autism awareness. This effort quickly led to national Autism Awareness Month celebrated every April. As a symbol for autism awareness, the NAS created the Autism Awareness Ribbon. The puzzle pattern reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope — hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and access to appropriate services/supports, people with autism will lead full lives able to interact with the world on the own terms.

The beloved long-running children’s program Sesame Street is rolling out new characters and resources for families in honor of Autism Awareness Month, introducing viewers to Julia’s whole family and in the words of Elmo, demonstrating how “it’s really cool that everybody’s a little bit different but same, too.”

Julia, the first muppet with autism to appear on the show, made her debut on Sesame Street in 2017.

This April, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, the program is expanding Julia’s role and introducing her family to fans. Autism currently affects one in 59 children in the U.S. and their families. Click here to view Sesame Street's Autism Resources page for parents.

“We’re thrilled to expand Julia’s world with her parents, big brother, and her adorable dog, Rose, in our new resources,” Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. “Children with autism often face unique challenges, as do their parents and siblings. But every family faces challenges of some sort, which is why we are focusing on what all families have in common. In a family, everyone has different roles, challenges, and strengths, and everyone can learn from one another.”

Recently, DNMM staff had the pleasure of attending a speech by Dr. Temple Grandin at Delta College. While we do not have video of that particular speech, we wanted to share with you a speech Dr. Grandin gave several years ago that highlights how her mind works -- sharing her ability to "think in pictures," which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids. Click here to learn more about Dr. Grandin's work as an advocate for people with autism.

#Autism #Awareness

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