University of Kansas Autism Researcher Invited to Advise Sesame Workshop

Brian Boyd, director of the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the KU Life Span Institute, was invited by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, to join an advisory meeting on May 18th to discuss recommendations for new resources for Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children

Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children was created in 2015 to increase public understanding of autism while providing free resources for children with autism ages 2 to 5 and their families, according to Sesame Workshop. At the heart of the initiative is Julia, a 4-year-old autistic Muppet and Sesame Street’s first character with autism, with her Muppet family and friends.

As an investigator whose main focus is to develop and evaluate intervention practices and comprehensive treatment models for young children with autism spectrum disorder and their families, Boyd hopes to build positive examples of autism and portray its real characteristics, while making sure that it is being represented as a spectrum, he said.

“Lately, I've been working on the issues of intersectionality, about how should we talk about issues of racial equity or social justice within the context of autism research and practice,” Boyd said. “So, I certainly want to bring that lens into the discussion and how we can build that into the resources that See Amazing in All Children can offer.”

“Dr. Boyd’s expertise and participation, along with our other advisors, will help us provide the best possible resources and recommendations for children with autism and their families,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact. “We are thankful for Dr. Boyd’s participation and our shared commitment to supporting both neurodivergent and neurotypical children and their families.”