The number of kids with autism has increased in the last 20 years. Because of this, it’s very important to teach children how to interact with new friends who may have autism.

Luckily, one of the most popular children’s shows of all time agrees. Sesame Street is introducing a new character with autism. Her name is Julia and her mission is to show why she’s very similar to other kids, with just a few extra things to take into consideration.

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Nisonger Center agree with Julia. They say that learning to interact with children with autism is so essential for kids and can help children with autism thrive. So, in the style of Sesame Street, here’s the ABCs of interacting with a child who has autism.

A: Always be patient.
Children with autism may get stuck on a topic of game. Teach your child to take cues from their friend. While it’s okay to gently encourage the child to move away from the activity, your child should be willing to continue if their friend with autism doesn’t want to change. Show your child how to delicately suggest a way to play the same game in a slightly different way.

B: Be observant.
Encourage your child to get to know their classmate and understand the types of activities that they most enjoy. When children with autism are involved in structure activities that they feel confident doing, it is a safe and positive experience.

C. Communicate in different ways.
Many times children with autism have different ways of communicating. If they get upset a child with autism may use expressions or sounds instead of verbalizing their emotions. Teach your child to be aware of how their friend communicates and be open to different forms of interaction.

Research shows Shakespeare play helps children with Autism. Experts at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center believe from stage to screen, the art of acting and imitating can help children with autism feel more comfortable with themselves.