Rarely has a public awareness campaign been so successful with no major advertising dollars spent.
When Sesame Street introduced a new muppet character – a girl named Julia who has autism (along with a portfolio of outreach materials, such as storybooks and online resources), it brought attention to a widespread but little understood condition. According to our research, nearly two thirds of Americans (63%) are aware of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and a third know someone who has been diagnosed with ASD. Yet, families with children diagnosed with ASD experience stigma and isolation on a daily basis.
The Sesame Street initiative made a strong case that even the youngest children — with or without autism — can be inclusive and understanding of each other. And it celebrated diversity by inviting us all to “See Amazing in All Children.”
And the public noticed. The initiative was widely covered by major media outlets — from a special on 60 Minutes to appearances on Fox News, ABC, other broadcast and cable channels, in newspapers, magazines and online media. Julia became a recognizable face to millions of Americans, even those who do not watch Sesame Street. One in two adult Americans (53%) has heard of Julia and the Sesame Street autism initiative.
We are proud to have partnered with Sesame Workshop on measuring the reach of this important initiative.
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