The Big Idea: Celebrating similarities and understanding differences goes a long way in helping kids make new friends.
- Tell kids they’re going to meet someone special: Elmo’s friend Julia, who has autism.
- Read the storybook together—as many times as you like! Talk about what kids find interesting, and answer their questions.
- Begin a conversation about understanding someone who is different. Ask, “What are some things about Julia that Abby doesn’t understand?” (why she doesn’t answer when Abby says hi, why she doesn’t look at Abby when she speaks, and so on.) Then ask, “How does Elmo help Abby understand?” (he tells her that Abby finds it hard to talk while swinging, he explains that he sometimes talks slowly to Julia and repeats what he says several times, and so on).
- Encourage children to act out what they do when they are excited, or how they show they are worried.