Children's Hospital Colorado

"Sesame Street" Expands Free Online Autism Resources

Addressing the unique needs of every child so they can be their unique selves.

You might have heard of Julia, Sesame Street's 4-year-old Muppet on the autism spectrum. She's been a model for inclusion since her first appearance on the show. But did you know that Sesame Street offers great resources for families online in both English and Spanish? These can be great resources to provide to parents in your practice.

Children's Hospital Colorado psychologists Bruno Anthony, PhD, and Laura Anthony, PhD, evaluated the impact of those online resources in a study of parents of children with and without autism. The study found that after using the online materials, children without autism showed a small increase in knowledge of autism and greater acceptance of children with autism. After using the resources, parents of children with autism reported increased parenting competence, less strain and more hope about involving their child in their community.

With web materials like animated storybooks, videos for kids and parents and written resources, it came as no surprise that families who engaged with them found them helpful. Among the most useful were 12 daily routine cards that go through each step of a new activity, including safety rules. Topics include:

  • Trying a new food
  • Washing hands
  • Going to the dentist
  • Getting a haircut
  • Going to a sporting event
  • Going to a birthday party
  • Brushing teeth
  • Going to a restaurant
  • Crossing the street
  • Going to the store
  • Morning routine
  • Bedtime routine

Parents can choose from a variety of narrators or skip narration, and they can also print them out. In the evaluation study, parents loved them — whether their kids were on the spectrum or not.