Autism and gut bacteria – the surprising link between the mind and the stomach

 A recent paper has found that autistic-related social patterns can be reversed when one species of gut bacteria is present in the microbiome of mice.

Autism – a developmental disorder that causes impediments to social interactions and behaviour – is usually linked by scientists to abnormalities in brain structure and function, caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Scientists have almost always attempted to understand the way autistic people process the world around them by looking to the mind.

According to the National Autistic Society, “There is strong evidence to suggest that autism can be caused by a variety of physical factors, all of which affect brain development; it is not due to emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up.”

Recently, however, a lesser-known link to autism has gained traction. This time, the link is not found in the brain but in the gut.

Reporting their findings in the journal Cell, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, found that the presence of a single species of gut bacteria in mice could reverse many behavioural characteristics related to autism.

In the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, there exists a complex, symbiotically integrated network of trillions of microorganisms known as the “gut flora” or “microflora”. The idea that all these bacteria and microorganisms have taken up a home in our gut may initially seem startling, but they serve a number of beneficial purposes, such as aiding digestion and offering immunity from infection.

The potential link between gut flora and autism arose as researchers identified the increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, among children born from mothers who were obese during pregnancy. The microflora of obese people is demonstrably different from those who are not obese, and as a result, connections have been made to the gut issues often reported in autistic people.

The senior author of the study and neuroscientist Mauro Costa-Mattioli said: “Other research groups are trying to use drugs or electrical brain stimulation as a way to reverse some of the behavioural symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders – but here we have, perhaps, a new approach.”

To determine what the differences in gut bacteria were, the researchers fed 60 female mice a high-fat diet, with the aim of replicating the type of gut flora that would be found among people consuming a high-fat diet which would contribute to obesity. A control group of mice was fed a normal diet to serve as comparison. The mice in each group then mated, and their eventual offspring then spent three weeks with their mothers while being observed to see how behaviour and microflora was affected.

It was found that the offspring from the mice laden with high-fat foods exhibited social impairments, including very little engagement with peers. Meanwhile, a test called ribosomal RNA gene sequencing found that the offspring of the mice that were fed a high-fat diet housed a very different bacterial gut environment to the offspring of mice fed a normal diet.

Discussing the result, co-author Shelly Buffington was keen to stress just how significant the findings were: “By looking at the microbiome of an individual mouse we could predict whether its behaviour would be impaired.”

In an effort to understand whether the variation in microbiome was the reason for differences in social behaviour, the researchers paired up control group mice with high-fat diet mice. Peculiarly, mice eat each other’s faeces, which is why researchers kept them together for four weeks. The high-fat diet mice would eat the faeces of the normal mice and gain any microflora they held. Astonishingly, the high-fat diet mice showed improvements in behaviour and changes to the microbiome, hinting that there may be a species of bacteria making all the difference.

After careful examination using a technique called whole-genome shotgun sequencing, it was found that one type of bacteria – Lactobacillus reuteri – was far less prevalent in the offspring of high-fat diet mice than the offspring of normal-diet mice.

Discussing the method and finding, Buffington said: “We culture a strain of Lactobacillus reuteri originally isolated from human breast milk and introduced it into the water of the high-fat diet offspring. We found that treatment with this single bacterial strain was able to rescue their social behaviour.”

What the Lactobacillus reuteri seemed to be doing was increasing production of oxytocin, a hormone which is known by various other names such as the “trust hormone”, or the “love hormone”, because of its role in social interactions.

The results of the experiment showing that Lactobacillus reuterican influence social behaviour are profound findings. Though the work would need to be transferred from mice studies to full human clinical trials to see if this could be applied to autistic people, the impact of adding Lactobacillus reuteri to the gut flora of mice can’t be underestimated. It seems then, for now, that research will go with the gut.

Source: newstatesman

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30 best apps for kids with autism~social skills, emotions, sequencing, language, ABA and more

awesome-apps-for-autism-executive-function-600x900As we are growing with the field of technology, we are realizing more and more that our children are benefiting from the use of these new and innovative tools that are being marketed. Even with some of the basic (but crucial) skill development for children with Autism, the i-Pad can be a fantastic tool in helping with bridging the gap. With April being Autism Acceptance Month, many app sellers/distributors have special deals and discounts on apps that are designed for kids with autism. Below I have listed some of the autism apps and ABA apps that are being highlighted this month.

Please note, I have deleted some of the prices because they have changed. I will not be updating with new prices since they are subject to change. Please check the app store for full details, thanks.

Here are some of the skills sets that you can work on with your kids with apps:

  • sensory skills
  • language and communication skills
  • social skills
  • functional skills
  • stress reduction

 

 

Great Apps for the I-Pad that work well for children with Autism and other sensory or social skills deficits

  1. Look in My Eyes–clever way to help children with autism develop the habit of looking in the eyes of another person.
  2. proloquo2Go- this must-have app provides you with alternative and augmentative communication features for children that have speech/language difficulties. The program contains text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, a default vocabulary, and much more. Speech/Language therapists, teachers, and parents recommend the program for children and adults not only with autism but also for cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, apraxia, ALS, developmental disabilities, and stroke or traumatic brain injury. Proloquo is considered by many to be the gold standard in communication apps and it’s a bit spendy. But, they have offered it at 50% off on World Autism Day, so check back.
  3. Autism Express–facial expression and emotions are some of the most difficult things for people with Autism to interpret.
    This program helps Autistic individuals recognize and express their emotions through fun and easy interface games. Application is also available forfree!
  4. Model Me Going Places–great program that models social skills to kids in various settings like the playground, mall, restaurant, doctor, grocery store, and getting a haircut. It plays through each setting with pictures, text, and audio as you flip-touch through each page and “social story”. Perfect for kids with ASD to help with social skill building and understanding social situations.Plus it is free!
  5. Stories 2 learn–create personalized social stories using photos, text, and audio messages for autistic kids that have difficulties with communication, transitioning, excursions, or routings. Easy to create sentences by just arranges pictures in a sentence. This program can be effective for children with ASD or others with special needs that do well with visual prompts.$13.99
  6. icommunicate–amazing program that allows you to customize your in any language by creating pictures, flash cards, storyboards,vital schedules, routines, and custom audio. There are 100+ pictures to get you started and you can add pictures with google search or your camera.
  7. Grace–designed by Lisa Domican, a mother of two autistic children in Ireland-this application’s idea is to gracefully help autistic and other special needs children effectively communicate by building sentences from relevant images. You easily customize the app by using picture and photo vocabulary of your choice. The idea behind Grace is to ensure interaction of the user with the listener, and mutual understanding of the user’s real communication needs and build trust.
  8. Tap to Talk Education– pretty, cool “game-like” device to teach communication. Tap the picture and the Tap to Talk speaks.With over 2,000 pictures and the ability to add your own photos and sounds, this program allows you to create a very individualized album for your autistic child. Plus it is amazingly….free!
  9. My Talk Mobile Actions–useful app that enables people with communication difficulties to express their needs to those around them through pictures, images, symbols, and audio files including a human voice. Turns your iPad into an alternative communication device (AAC).
  10. iConverse– this program is more like a picture exchange board (PEC) that provides the user tiles to choose from with both audio and visual. This is perfect for the ASD child that has communication difficulties.
  11. Autism Tracker Lite-Autism Tracker can be life changing for families with an autistic child. Explore Autism. Track what matters to your child and your family. Use the visual calendar and multi-item graphs to view and discuss patterns. Share individual events or entire screens with your team using Dropbox, email or Twitter (Twitter lets you set up closed groups).
  12. Touch and Learn Emotions-helps reinforce learning emotions of others by what their body language and expression is.
  13. Turn Taker-Turn Taker uses visual and audio cues to facilitate turn taking and sharing for any child. The app also includes an illustrated social story about game play and sharing. This app has been used successfully with a variety of young children who find it difficult to share.
  14. Manners Social Stories-This app includes a 10 page social story about why it is important to be polite, and how to have good manners. The app also includes a simple visual support for using the polite phrases from the story.
  15. Autism iHelp, WH questions-Autism iHelp is a vocabulary teaching aid developed by parents of a child with Autism and a speech-language pathologist. Autism iHelp was inspired by the need for specific language intervention tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder focusing on their unique strengths and difficulty with expressive vocabulary.
  16. Social Skill Builder-2 modules in the title Preschool Playtime (Preschool & Playground), 13 modules in the title My School Day (Laughing, Table Talk, Classroom, Transition Time, Lunch Time, Jungle Gym, Team Games 1 & 2, Cubby, Eating, Playground, Hall & Line Up), 2 modules in the title My Community (Friend’s House & Restaurant), 2 modules in the title School Rules! (Hanging Out & Classroom Assignments)
  17. Social Comprehension-Social Comprehension is an app dedicated to helping people of all ages, particularly teens with Autism and other special needs. This will help with their understanding of various social situations, teaching them how to interact and study with their peers.
  18. Autism Emotion– Autism Emotion uses music and a photo slideshow to help teach about different emotions.
  19. Autism iHelp, Language Concepts-Autism iHelp is a vocabulary teaching aid developed by parents of a child with Autism and a speech-language pathologist. Autism iHelp was inspired by the need for specific language intervention tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder focusing on their unique strengths and difficulty with expressive vocabulary.
  20. Autism Apps– If my list isn’t good enough or big enough for you, then check out Autism Apps. Autism Apps is simply a comprehensive list of apps that are being used with and by people diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs. It also includes links to any available information that can be found for each app. The Apps are also separated into over 30 categories, and the descriptions are all searchable, so any type of app is easy to find and download.

 

10 ABA apps for kids with autism

  1. ABA Flash Cards – Alphabet – Kindergarten.com
  2. ABA Flash Cards – Animals – Kindergarten.com
  3. ABA Problem Solving Game – Which Go Together? – Kindergarten.com
  4. ABA Receptive Identification – Kindergarten.com
  5. ABA Problem Solving Game – What Rhymes? – Kindergarten.com
  6. ABA Receptive Identification – By Class – Kindergarten.com
  7. ABA Flash Cards – Food – Kindergarten.com
  8. ABA Sight Words – Kindergarten.com
  9. ABA Flash Cards & Games – Emotions – Innovative Mobile Apps
  10. ABA – Problem Solving – What does not belong? – Innovative Mobile Apps

In Canada, there was also this phenomenal project that was completed last year by some teachers and researchers in the assistive technology field with Autistic children to specifically look at which apps worked best in certain areas for the i-Pod touch. Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is that publication for you to have for your reference:Apps for ASD i-Pod Touch Project

All said and done, there are so many great technology tools now readily available to parents. It takes just a little bit of research to see what best fits your child’s individual needs for success.

 

Source :adayinourshoes.com

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Watch 7 Tips for Talking with the Child Who Stutters

Experts agree that most children who stutter benefit from taking time to speak at a rate that promotes fluency. These guidelines represent a number of ways that adults around that child can help promote the child’s fluency.

1. Reduce the pace. Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes before you begin to speak. Your own easy relaxed speech will be far more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly. For some children, it is also helpful to introduce a more relaxed pace of life for awhile.

2. Full listening. Try to increase those times that you give your child your undivided attention and are really listening. This does not mean dropping everything every time she speaks.

3. Asking questions. Asking questions is a normal part of life – but try to resist asking one after the other. Sometimes it is more helpful to comment on what your child has said and wait.

4. Turn taking. Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.

5. Building confidence. Use descriptive praise to build confidence. An example would be “I like the way you picked up your toys. You’re so helpful,” instead of “that’s great.” Praise strengths unrelated to talking as well such as athletic skills, being organized, independent, or careful.

6. Special times. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. This quiet calm time – no TV, iPad or phones – can be a confidence builder for young children. As little as five minutes a day can make a difference.

7. Normal rules apply. Discipline the child who stutters just as you do your other children and just as you would if he didn’t stutter.

 

Source:stutteringhelp

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Teaching Safety Skills To Children With Autism Spectrum

Teaching safety skills to children with autism is imperative in our rapidly changing unsafe world. Most children have this inate sense of danget that keeps them relatively safe.  Our children with autism lack any sense of danger which inherently puts them in more danger than the average child.  As with most skills , you have to approach it from a developmental standpoint .  What you can not do is to neglect teaching this skill regardless of the age of the person with autism.

 

When Logan was younger , he was what we call a bolter.  A bolter is a person who takes off in a parking lot or somewhere else.  He saw something that he liked so he would “bolt” from us to get to it.  It didn’t matter that it was across a busy highway or in a parking lot full of cars.  He had no sense of danger so he merely went to where he wanted. This meant that child locks were always on in the car.  The door wasn’t opened without immediately grabbing his hand.  One hand on him while unbuckling the car seat with the other.  This meant I couldn’t go anywhere alone after Madison was born. I simply could not carry her in her car seat while keeping track of him.  I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

We didn’t attend many outdoor events at that age since Logan couldn’t handle them from a sensory standpoint.  When we did manage to get out , we played tag.  I would be near and watch Logan for a time then tag Michael to switch . There was never a time when one of us did not have our eyes on him as well as be close enough to grab at least an arm should he bolt.  We did this for so long that we do it out of habit even to this day.  He certainly hasn’t bolted in years. He has such a good grip on safety that we often have to chide him for being too cautious.

Teaching safety skills to children with autism.

Let’s talk about how we got to this point.  Here’s a typical scenario for an autism parent. You’ve spent YEARS working with your child on safety skills, especially when it comes to looking for cars in parking lots, before crossing a street, etc. He is inconsistent, at best. If you don’t remind him right before he walks across a street or parking lot, he won’t remember to look. When you ask him, he knows the rule. I ask him why he didn’t look and he says, I forgot.

First, this is a much higher level thinking skill.  You have to fill in the developmentalgaps from the early years before you can ask this skill of your child.  One of the things that RDI works on is filling in the earlier skills so you can work on the higher level ones.

The earlier skill  needed here is referencing Mom and Dad, stopping when Mom/Dad stops, slowing down in co-regulation/coordination with Mom/Dad  or pausing with them. Why is this important for teaching safety?  When your child stays with you automatically, you can keep them safe as well as teach them.  Social skills storiesaren’t going to work in this case as you have no way to predict what other people are going to do.   It’s not about remembering the rules. It’s multitasking all the non-verbal information happening, and an early step is co-regulating and coordinating yourself with what is happening around you. The rule is the summary of all of that, but it is much less about the rule than it is about the non-verbal communication. You can’t practice it on a regular basis as the outcome will constantly change.  Your child simply needs to learn to co-regulate his actions with your actions. How exactly do you work on that?Keeping children with autism safe requires a plan.

  • When Mom moves to the side, he should reference, “why”? There is a great deal of non-verbal communication happening and it is learned with an adult guide first.
  • You have to teach the child to be observant around him. That there is important information that he needs to know happening . That can’t happen without him knowing and practicing the non verbal communication part.
  • Walk around the block where you vary your pace and wait (silently – no prompts) for him to notice and match your pace can be very helpful. If he gets ahead, you can say, “You got ahead of me!” which lets him do the thinking to come back to you.
  • Carry something together. Move the kitchen table so you can sweep under it. Have him at one end of the table and you at the other. Coordinate actions to move the table to the side. You can move furniture all over the house.
  • Carry a bucket of water or a watering can full of water together – suspend it on a short length of rope or on a board or stick – the rope or board becomes the visual connection for the two of you. Water the flowers in the yard together.
  • Carry a laundry basket together from room to room to gather up dirty laundry, you on one side, he on the other. The laundry basket becomes the visual, tangible connection between the two of you. You can stack clean clothing in a basket and carry it together from room to room to deliver clean laundry to each resident in your house.
  • The more you can spotlight connection as you do something together – the better. This is manipulative mode. Mental and abstract mode come later in development. A mental connection or abstract connection at the corner where you stop together and look both ways is a later step in development.

As you can see, sometimes you have to go back in order to move forward.  Once you have the co-regulation into place , you can move on to the abstract connection of safety.  Until you get these earlier processes in place, you are simply spinning your wheels in frustration.  No one wants that much less you or your child.  I promise you that if you will take time to fill in these gaps , the rest will come easier.

Source

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder May Not Develop Entirely In Human Brain; Defects In Skin’s Nervous System Found

One out of every 68 children suffers from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition that for years scientists have believed originates inside the brain. A new study by Harvard Medical School researchers reveals experts may have been wrong all along, and that ASD may not involve just the brain, but the skin too. This makes sense since many of the symptoms people with autism experience involve issues with sensory processing, which makes them hypersensitive to various sensory stimuli — among them, touch.

“An underlying assumption has been that ASD is solely a disease of the brain, but we’ve found that may not always be the case,” said the study’s senior author David Ginty, a neurobiology professor at Harvard Medical School, in a statement. “Advances in mouse genetics have made it possible for us to study genes linked to ASD by altering them only in certain types of nerve cells and studying the effects.”

Many people with autism are often hypersensitive to light touches, a sign that indicates to experts that part of their disorder is tactile in nature. It’s often possible to calm a person whose sensory system is believed to be overstimulated by using deep pressure applied through hugs and heavy blankets. Knowing this, Ginty and his team tested how mice reacted to a light puff of air on their backs and how well they could differentiate various textures. Because certain gene mutations were related to ASD in humans, such as Mecp2 and Gabrb3, researchers found mice with the mutations were startled by the puffs of air, compared to normal mice. They were also unable to tell the difference between textures.

“Although we know about several genes associated with ASD, a challenge and a major goal has been to find where in the nervous system the problems occur,” Ginty said. “By engineering mice that have these mutations only in their peripheral sensory neurons, which detect light touch stimuli acting on the skin, we’ve shown that mutations there are both necessary and sufficient for creating mice with an abnormal hypersensitivity to touch.”

Their findings, published in the journal Cell, reveal that the sensation of touch travels along receptors at the surface of the skin and connects into the central nervous system. The sense of touch is key to socialization and navigation, which is why an abnormal reaction to it can make it problematic for a person with ASD to function in their day-to-day life.

Ginty concluded: “We think it works the same way in humans with ASD.”

Baby AutismAutism may stem from outside of the brain, leading researchers to search the central nervous system for answers.Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

Currently, researchers have only found this effect in mice with anxiety problems that resemble autism, which limits them in being able to predict exactly how it will play out in a human brain. If removing the genetic marker in humans works the same way it did in mice, the approach might turn the volume down on how sensitive those with autism are to touch.

However, being able to see how the receptors in the central nervous system differ depending on ASD gene mutations reveals that the brain may not be working alone. Instead, researchers believe that identifying ways to target both the brain and the central nervous system could help doctors treat the disease in a way that helps manage some of the anxiety behaviors and difficulties with social interactions that are common among people who suffer from the condition.

Dr. Mark Zylka is a Harvard University professor with expertise in the mechanisms of pain and autism. Though he wasn’t involved in the study, he told Medical Daily: “It will be very difficult to eliminate a faulty gene in a human. However, knowing what gene is mutated in a child with autism could, in the future, be used to treat that child with medicines that are personalized for their unique mutation. This study will refocus scientists on the peripheral nervous system as a possible source of some of the symptoms of autism.”

 

source

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My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About – Term Life

Like most parents of children with autism, I have been reading about the family in California who is being sued by several families in their neighborhood. The lawsuitcontends that their child is a public nuisance because of his behaviors that his parents failed to fix.

One of the plaintiffs in this case stated “This is not about autism. This is about public safety.”

But he is wrong. This is absolutely about autism. It’s just not about the autism people hear about.

The media shows us all of the feel-good stories, like the child with autism who gets to be the manager of the high school basketball team, or the boy with autism who goes to the prom with the beautiful girl, or the girl with autism who is voted onto the homecoming court. We light it up blue every April and pat ourselves on the back for being so aware.

But we aren’t aware.

Because for every boy with autism who manages his high school basketball team, there are 20 boys with autism who smear feces. And for every girl with autism who gets to be on the homecoming court, there are 30 girls with autism who pull out their hair and bite their arms until they bleed. And for every boy with autism who gets to go the prom, there are 50 boys with autism who hit and kick and bite and hurt other people.

This is the autism that no one talks about. This is the autism that no one wants to see.

We aren’t aware.

One of the plaintiffs said “We’re not upset about him being autistic. We are concerned and upset about his violence (toward) our children.”

There is no way to be upset by this child’s behaviors and not be upset about autism.

Autism and behaviors go hand-in-hand. Why? The behaviors are communication. Individuals with autism often can’t communicate in a way that typically functioning people can understand. So they do things to get their needs met. And often the things they do are scary and violent.

My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About — Part 2

We aren’t aware.

My son, who is the same age as the child in this story, was extremely aggressive when he was younger. He did all of the things that the child involved in this lawsuit did. My son ran after other children on the playground just to push them down. He hit. He kicked. He bit. He pulled hair. And I never knew what was coming. For the longest time, I would flinch when he ran up to me…I didn’t know whether he was going to hug me or hit me. Can you imagine, as a mom, what that’s like? To flinch when your child runs to you?

We aren’t aware.

Because I didn’t know what my son was going to do to other children, we stopped going to the park. We stopped going to the Mommy and Me class at the library. We started going to the grocery store at 6:00 a.m. when most people weren’t around. He didn’t go to daycare but had a sitter at home so he wouldn’t be around other kids in a daycare setting. I essentially isolated him in order to keep other people safe. Can you imagine what it’s like to be a mom and not be able to take your child to the park? Or have your child attend birthday parties? Or have play dates?

We aren’t aware.

Because of my need to isolate my son, I also isolated myself too. I watched from my window as other moms in the neighborhood sat in their camp chairs and chatted while their children played. I couldn’t join them because my son couldn’t be around the other kids. Once a mom asked if my son could come to their house and play with her son. Can you imagine what it was like to feel so excited and then feel so ashamed when, after explaining my son’s issues to her so she would be aware, that invitation was rescinded?

We aren’t aware. Not at all.

But we can be. We can open our eyes and understand that autism isn’t all about the high functioning child who is “quirky” but OK to be around. Autism isn’t all about the six-year-old who can play Piano Man better than Billy Joel. Autism can be hard. Autism can be sad. Autism can be messy. Autism can be violent. Autism can be isolating.

My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About — Part 2

Once we become really aware, lawsuits like this won’t happen. Why? Because instead of putting blue lights on our front porches, we will go outside with our kids and we will help them play together…typically functioning kids and kids with autism. We will get to know our neighbors and we will embrace the children with behaviors and embrace their parents along with them.

We will learn what things trigger our child’s classmate who has autism so that we can help the children interact while avoiding things that will cause aggression. We will be a true village, including those who can model appropriate behaviors and those who are trying so hard to learn them. We will work on teaching our children not to hit and how to avoid being hit.

The parents involved in this lawsuit, on both sides, need to do more. More education, more understanding, more inclusion and more involvement.

Now tell me, is autism the real public nuisance?

We can become aware … if we really want to.

Source

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Newest “Sesame Street” Muppet has autism: Meet Julia

Julia, the first Muppet with autism, was able to get to Sesame Street.

The orange-haired, green-eyed puppet, who will be debut on the beloved PBS childhood show in April, made her first appearance on “60 Minutes” Sunday night.

The opening of the episode, which shows Elmo and Abby Cadabby introducing Julia to Big Bird, shows the new girl reluctant to shake hands with the bird.

“It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism,” said “Sesame Street” writer Christine Ferraro. “There is an expression that goes, ‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

 

“60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, who joined the episode, spoke to Big Bird and Elmo about helping adjust to how Julia reacts to situations.

“We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird. It’s just that Julia has autism,” Elmo said. “So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things.”

As for how Julia was created in the Jim Henson Workshop, Rollie Krewson said they had to build two sets of arms for the Muppet: one for when she’s stationary and one for when she’s upset and flaps her arms.

Julia, the first Muppet with autism, will debut on "Sesame Street" in April.

Julia, the first Muppet with autism, will debut on “Sesame Street” in April.

(Stacey Gordon, the voice of Julia, has a son with autism.

“It means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society. Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion…it’s huge,” she told “60 Minutes.”

“Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that’s okay.”

Julia made her first public appearance on "60 Minutes" with reporter Lesley Stahl Sunday night.

Julia made her first public appearance on “60 Minutes” with reporter Lesley Stahl Sunday night.

The episode wraps up with the characters playing tag. Julia gets so excited that she jumps up and down, which Abby describes as “bouncing like a rubber ball. Boing boing boing.”

“And then it turns into a game where they’re all jumping like her. So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation they can meet her where she is,” Ferraro said.

“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism. I would like her to be just Julia.”

Source:nydailynews.com