'Sesame Street' Is Helping Autistic Children Adjust To Masks, Zoom Playdates & More

To help families through the not-so-easy times the COVID-19 pandemic has created, Sesame Street has launched new resources for autistic children and their parents such as videos, stories, and interactive games.

Julia, Sesame Street's autistic muppet who was first introduced to the cast in 2017, is the star of these Sesame Workshop's new videos (available in English and Spanish) designed to help children better understand how to adapt to some the new and sometimes frustrating or confusing circumstances we're living with right now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

In one video, for instance Julia's dad Daniel explains the importance of wearing a face mask with the help of her stuffed animal Fluffster. "Remember, if you go outside, you need to wear your mask," Daniel explains. "That's how you keep everyone safe." In another, Julia and Elmo demonstrate how to have a virtual playdate with their stuffed animals while practicing social distancing. "Elmo can't go to Julia's house to play, but it's great that our mommies set up this video playdate," Elmo says.

In addition to a number of videos for kids, there are also interactive games to help with daily routines, and virtual books to help explain what is going on in the world.

Sesame Street has also created videos created just for parents as well as articles on how to effectively work from home while also helping their children and their needs.

"We know that children with autism and their families are experiencing unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that schedules, routines, and guidelines can change with little warning," Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of US Social Impact for Sesame Workshop said in a statement. "The new resources are designed to help families manage unexpected circumstances, familiarize children with new behaviors like wearing masks, and incorporate practical strategies in their day to day lives — all with a little help from Julia."

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.