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A is for Autism

How Sesame Street is Supporting Autism Awareness Month

Dakota Ake, writer and Web Editor

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As of April 10th, 2017 Sesame Street now has a character with autism. Sesame Street did very well at portraying the characteristics of autism.  April is also Autism Awareness month so this was the perfect time to debut this adorable character. Oak Park has some students of its own with autism.


Freshman Joseph Burke has mild autism and he confirms there are hardships that come with having autism, but he does his best to remain positive.


“I have a little bit of a hard time making friends but I’m a pretty outgoing person for someone with autism,” says Burke.


“I definitely think there is a stigma.” special education teacher Emma Bastarache said, “I think people talk to them like they’re a little kid or they don’t know more than they do know.”


Freshman Kelsey Boucher has two older brothers with autism.


“People tend to not understand why they act the way they do. My brother Denver has the more severe autism.” says Boucher, “He doesn’t like to talk all that often, he’ll make noises but he doesn’t talk much.”


Autism is a spectrum, meaning that there can be stark contrasts in the behaviors and severity of it from person to person.


“There can be [autistic people] that are high functioning that can be in general ed classes that you sometimes really don’t even know that they have autism and then there are kids that need more support and are what’s considered low functioning.” said Bastarache,“[They] have more behaviors, they can do things called overstimulating where they get really stimulated and they can do things like hit, get upset, they can’t control their emotions as well.”


Boucher and Burke both like the new Sesame Street character.


“I think it did a good job at representing autism, it portrayed autistic people really well,” says Burke.




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