This can open a world of possibilities for the estimated 1 in 59 children with autism, improving learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorder.
The estimate comes from the Center for Disease Control which reports the overall prevalence of autism in the U.S. is 1 in 59 children, yet the reported prevalence among white children is 7 percent higher than African-American children and 22 percent higher than Hispanic children – pointing to potential missed or delayed diagnosis in those groups.
Though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 18 months, most children aren’t diagnosed until between 4 and 5 years old—and studies indicate that age is even higher for low-income and minority children.
The new Ad Council campaign aims to change that by helping to lower the age of diagnosis for all children, no matter their ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
The campaign stars Julia and her Sesame Street friends and family, helping parents to learn the signs of autism and understand the importance of early screening and diagnosis, ultimately making a meaningful difference in the lives of children with autism.
“Sesame Street has such an emotional and relatable connection with parents. By featuring Julia, we instantly become approachable for a topic that can sometimes be intimidating for them,” said Kevin Mulroy, Creative Director at BBDO NY. “Julia’s positivity and spirit help bring levity while communicating the signs of autism.”
The English and Spanish-language videos show Julia taking on everyday activities in her unique way, whether it’s playing music with her friends or communicating with her family using a “talker,” an electronic tablet. Julia’s adventures show audiences that the more her family and friends understand her world, the brighter she shines.
The spots encourage parents to visit ScreenForAutism.org or DeteccionDeAutismo.org, where they can find resources in both English and Spanish to help identify the signs of autism, access an autism screening questionnaire, seek information from Autism Speaks’ Autism Response Team and find supports for before, during and after diagnosis.
“Receiving an autism diagnosis is just the first step in creating a better future for a child on the spectrum, and there are multiple benefits to getting that early diagnosis,” said Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger. “Research shows that early intervention can have a positive impact in so many ways, and we are dedicated to helping parents learn the signs and feel empowered to help their children lead their best lives.”
“Early screening made a lifetime of difference for Julia and her family, and we’re thrilled to share her story with families through this campaign,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “Through our Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative, Julia has shown that all children are amazing in their own ways. With the right support, every child can reach their full potential.”
The new site, ScreenforAutism.org, also includes free, bilingual resources for families from the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative.
“Innovative partnerships, like this one with Sesame Workshop and Autism Speaks, are critical to continuing the national dialogue about autism and helping parents understand the lifetime of difference early screening can make for children with autism,” Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, said.
Building on the print, online and outdoor public service announcements released in April, the new videos will appear nationwide in donated media, in TV and digital formats.
Source: AD Council