To the editor:
As I’m sure you’ve heard, the most recent character on Sesame Street, Julia, has a disability—more specifically, she has autism. This giant breakthrough for Sesame Street will hopefully serve as an example for future television and will further the show’s mission to make all children feel loved and included.
But as children watch this brand new character, they may have questions as to why she is a bit different than her friends. Why does it take her a little longer to respond to a question? Why does she sometime talk a little slower?
The topic of talking to children about developing an understanding of, and having compassion for, children and adults with disabilities is extremely important, and experts at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health encourage parents to take advantage of this heightened awareness to initiate these conversations with their children.
Below are 6 tips to help parents kick off these conversations:
- Educate yourself first
- Use casual opportunities to start conversations
- Provide accurate but digestible information
- Reassure your child
- Remind your child about treating others with respect
- Take it slow
Director of Family & Community Services
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health