Sesame Street to Introduce Julia, a Muppet with Autism


Julia, who has red hair and bright green eyes, already exists in storybooks called Sesame Street And Autism: See Amazing In All Children.

"In the USA, one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder", Jeanette Betancourt, vice president of US social impact at Sesame Workshop, told the Associated Press.

Allen says some children with autism can find it hard to make friends, and need other children to learn to better understand how they function. Come April, kiddie viewers will be seeing more of Julia when she makes her transition to the live-action fold of the long-running children's show, as revealed in a segment Sunday on "60 Minutes".

A few years ago, the show introduced a new muppet for the first time in more than a decade. And perhaps the puppeteer with the closest connection to his or her muppet is Stacey Gordon, who plays the role of Julia.

Elsewhere in the episode, the muppets point out that Julia is really good at game spotting shapes saying: " You're lucky. He wants to be her new friend, but she doesn't speak to him. Julia "does things a little differently", according to the Sesame workshop.

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"Parents are very excited about it", says Colleen Allen, President and CEO of the Autism Alliance of MI. As writer Christine Ferraro told Stahl of creating Julia's personality, "It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism". But Sherrie Westin, an executive vice president at Sesame Workshop who oversaw the initiative, said she saw that Julia resonated with audiences.

The objective of Julia's character will be to combat stigmas associated with the autism spectrum, as diagnoses have continually grown. She tells A.P. that the "Meet Julia" introductory episode is something her son's friends were able to see when they were younger. His son, who has autism, watched the show as a child.

Instead of making fun of her, the other Sesame Street characters will join in.

There's no news yet on how often Julia will appear on the show, but even if she is only on Sesame Street for a short time, her presence is sure to make a difference.