COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Sesame Street is an iconic children's show, and now a new song and cause are propelling the company into the spotlight.
A new tune released just this week is a part of the Sesame Workshop's new digital initiative called "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children."
The initiative also includes a new Muppet character Julia, who has autism, and is part of an effort to promote acceptance and break stigmas associated with the disorder.
They're stigmas families in the Valley know all too well.
"They just assume that someone who is autistic is stupid, or doesn't know. They're not stupid, they're very smart actually," said Angie Wardlow, a parent of a child with autism.
From conferences to walks, and 5Ks, those living with autism and their loved ones are trying to bring awareness to the disorder growing in the Valley.
Muscogee County school administrators say in 2005, there were 32 children with autism in Muscogee County. Now, there are 428, which is why local leaders on the issue say Sesame Street's push is much-needed support.
"If you can get to the children when they're young and they grow up, because most of them have children with autism in their classes at school, because there is so many of them and most of them are in inclusion class rooms, they're not in the special-ed class down the hallway," said Diane Pope with the Columbus Autism Hope Center.