CUMMINGS AND GOINGS
Conner and I with our new friends Julia
n April, Conner and I were
invited to the Sesame Street
and Autism Panel in Wash-
ington D.C. It was at this event
that we had the opportunity to
meet Julia. For those who may
not know, Julia is the newest
Sesame Street Muppet and, as
Conner describes her, “Julia is
autistic –Julia’s way.”
Many of us grew up watching
Sesame Street; it was the street
that we all wanted to live on.
This make-believe STREET
in so many ways represented
the true meaning of inclusion.
On Sesame Street you could
find people and characters of
all colors, ages, disabilities,
cultures and beliefs--
EVERYONE IS WELCOME
ON SESAME STREET! Conner
watched Sesame Street when
he was younger too. In fact,
one year he was Big Bird for
Halloween. He loved that
costume and would wear it everywhere, even to bed, that is
until he outgrew it and split the seams. I still have what is
left of Big Bird in his memory box.
To attend this special Sesame Street Autism event, Conner
chose not to wear his Mickey Mouse ears as he thought it
would not be respectful. He asked me to carry them in my
purse, which of course I did. During the discussions Conner
would occasionally put his hand in my purse and touch
his Mickey Mouse ears as he quietly hummed the theme to
When Julia was finally introduced to us, at first she was a
little quiet. It was her friend Abby who told us that Julia is
autistic. Conner was fascinated and listened to Julia when
she spoke, whether it was with words or movements.
He noted that Julia stims just like he does. We also heard
an amazing panel that consisted of Laura Anthony, Julia
Bascom and Jeanette Betancourt as well as a few politicians
and the creators of Sesame Street.
When the meeting was over, we all had an opportunity to
meet Julia one-on-one. As you can see from the picture, this
was a huge moment for Conner. Conner said, “Hi, Julia. My
name is Conner, and I am autistic too.” Abby told Julia that
Conner is a self-advocate and that he has a law named after
him in a state called Virginia. Julia said hi to Conner and
showed him her bunny. Conner told her how much he liked
her bunny and that he has Mickey Mouse ears that he thinks
are similar ‘feels.’
We had the opportunity to meet many people from Sesame
Street, including Stacy Gordon, the puppeteer of Julia.
Conner dressed up as his favorite
Sesame Street character, Big Bird.
ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses
everywhere got to meet the
newest Muppet, a red-headed
4-year-old-girl with a fondness
for playing tag and a stuffed
bunny. Of course we watched
liked millions of others.
We both think that Sesame
Street did a wonderful job
introducing Julia, and we look
forward to seeing what they
will do next.
Conner was able to discuss
his ideas for Sesame Street, and
they really listened. They even
Then we met the host of the