When the character Julia debuted on Sesame Streetlast year, she gave voice and representation to kids like her. As the first character on the autism spectrum, kids and parents could relate to Julia and the way she interacts with other characters on the beloved children's program. Showrunners worked with autism organizations to accurately portray Julia as a way to “normalize autism for all children.” At a recent Sensory-Friendly Family Fun Day held at the Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit, kids with autism, developmental disabilities and sensory-processing disorders had a chance to meet Julia in person. Difficulty processing sensory experiences is one of the ways autism presents in children. Julia herself becomes overwhelmed in an episode of the show because of the noise of loud sirens. The Sensory-Friendly Family Fun Day provided a supportive and welcoming environment for kids in attendance. Hosted by the Michigan Alliance for Families and Detroit Public Television, children were able to enjoy the Outdoor Adventure Center in a new way. Efforts were made to make the space comfortable and quiet for those in attendance with a range of fun, sensory-friendly activities to take part in. Families were encouraged to bring headphones, fidget toys and other supportive materials to help their kids remain at ease. A quiet room was hosted by volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If children became too overwhelmed, they were able to relax on bean bag chairs and color #MIKidsCan activity books. “The challenges of living with autism are felt by as many as 50,000 individuals in Michigan,” said Christie Laster, community liaison, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Blue Cross recognizes this and supports autism initiatives to not only bring awareness but to provide aid to those affected in hopes of lessening some of those challenges.” You can support the Michigan Alliance for Families and their mission to connect families of children with disabilities to available resources by attending Sesame Street Live 2019 on Friday, Feb. 1 at the Fox Theatre. Like this post? Read more like it here:
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