For the second year, “Sesame Street” is honoring Autism Awareness Month with a special episode that will be shown both on HBO and on PBS. Typically, episodes appear on HBO first and then after the season is over, they appear on PBS. Last year, “Sesame Street” added Julia, a little girl who has autism, and explained to kids what autism is and how not to be afraid of a kid like Julia.
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On Monday at 7 a.m. on HBO and 10 a.m. on Austin’s PBS affiliate KLRU, “Sesame Street” is showing the episode “Shape Hunt.” The kids and monsters on Sesame Street team up on a scavenger hunt looking for shapes. When the other characters get stumped, Julia helps them find shapes in places the other monsters and people would never have thought of. The episode celebrates Julia’s differences rather than seeing them as a challenge.
“Sesame Street” is also introducing other autism-related resources this month:“Forever Family,” is a book that introduces Julia’s family including her parents and big brother Samuel. You can find it in English and Spanish on sesamestreet.org/autism and on ebook platforms. Sesamestreet.org/autism has four videos with Julia, Grover and Rosita in which Julia freeze dances with her friends, teaches Grover about patterns, celebrates families with Rosita and discovers different ways to say, “Hello.” The site also has digital routine cards to help kids with learning differences go through step-by-step events such as Julia getting a haircut or watching a sporting event, Elmo going to a dentist and Rosita going to a birthday party. Penguin Random House’s Brightly Storytime introduced a read-along video storybook “We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3!” with Julia and Abby Cadabby.