Sesame Street's Newest Muppet 'Julia' Has Autism

"Basically, in terms of vulnerable families, we're looking at families who may have particular stressors in their lives that are impacting their young children", Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for USA social impact at parent company Sesame Workshop, explained.

The Sesame Street campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with Autism as well as introduce a better understanding of the condition. We're modeling the way both children and adults can look at autism from a strength-based perspective: "finding things that all children share", she said.

The creators of Sesame Street revealed the new character in an interview with 60 minutes, noting that Julia will appear alongside Elmo and Abby. She said: "It's tricky because Autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person has autism".

To get Julia right, the show met with with organizations, experts, and families within the autism community for several years.

Julia, the first muppet with autism. There should be more awareness out there, not only to educate others, but to show the children with these disabilities that they are not alone. And now, Sesame Street, our timeless American classic that has aired for almost 50 years, has done it again. "Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion, it's huge".

Julia's puppeteer, Ms Stacey Gordon, happens to be the mother of an autistic son.

The newcomer, #Julia, is special not just because she has orange hair and is seen always playing with her favorite stuffed bunny.

"We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird", Elmo told Stahl.

Christine Ferraro and the rest of the Sesame Street crew would like to see Julia as a regular character in order to further the normalization of autism. Three years in the making, Julia's presence on the series is profound and enlightening as it continues Sesame Workshop's learning initiatives for children. "Well, so obviously, they had learned", she says.

When Big Bird is introduced to her, she ignores him.

Julia was introduced in 2015 through digital storybook "We're wonderful, 1, 2, 3". Now the fully realized Muppet version of Julia will feature on the long-running children's show. Rather than make fun of her or be scared by her unusual reaction, the kids make it part of the game. In her first episode, Julia will be seen bonding with a few children.

"I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism". She is invited to play a game with fellow muppets Oscar, Abby and Grover, where they must point out different shapes.

In a scene introducing Julia to Big Bird, Elmo takes it upon himself to explain why she does not at first respond to a greeting as expected.

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