At So.i.Heard, we have a huge spot in our hearts (and our studio!) for rock star kids with special needs, so I am honored to bring your attention to a new TV rock star that I see as a really big deal. Many of us, across several generations, are more than familiar with Sesame Street and its cast of timeless puppets, like Big Bird, Elmo, and Bert and Ernie. So we also realize that when Sesame Street announces they are bringing on a new permanent puppet, it is certainly something to talk about. The new addition to the gang is Julia; she's lively, she's creative, she's musical, and she has autism.
When I heard about this, I was ecstatic. In my humble opinion, Sesame Street has always been ahead of the curve as far as representation, especially when it comes to unique family situations. I've also always admired Sesame Street writers for giving kids the credit that they could be understanding of tricky topics; Sesame Street episodes have even addressed coping with death. But having a character with special needs portrayed not only in a totally positive light, but also while highlighting how alike she is to her typical peers, is something totally new. I would bet that those of you who have someone with autism in your life or your family have been waiting for something like this your whole lives! I think we are seeing it more and more (go, go Power Rangers!) and I am hoping this is the year that rock star characters with special needs steal the spotlight -- and stay there.
Keep making music, y'all! - Brooke (So.i.Heard Music Therapy Program Director)
Check out this video from 60 Minutes to get the whole story on my new favorite TV personality, Julia. She officially hits your TV screens on April 10, so make sure you tune in! Sesame Street episodes can be found on PBS, YouTube, and HBO.
Photo is from patch.com