'Sesame Street' introduces Muppet with autism

Julia the first Muppet with autism will debut on

She traveled from Phoenix to audition.

"[This] means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society".

Show's creators include an autistic character, a redheaded four-year-old called Julia, to help break down barriers. Now the fully realized Muppet version of Julia will feature on the long-running children's show.

"That's a thing that can be typical of some kids with autism", said Ms Ferraro.

Explaining the reasoning behind bringing on the new character, Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro said that it's an effort to help normalize interactions between children.

"It's tricky, because autism is not one thing". They worked with autism organizations to settle on which characteristics Julia would display and how to best explain her behavior to the show's young audience.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, writer Christine Ferraro had said that the goal is that "when children encounter people with disabilities in their real life it's familiar".

Designers use 2 sets of arms for Julia, who uses them to express emotions.


In her first episode, Big Bird holds out his wing to shake hands with Julia, who is being introduced in the upcoming season. Julia sometimes takes a while to answer questions, and she tends to repeat what her friends say, because she has autism. "We live with a grouch".

Over the nearly five decades "Sesame Street" has been on the air, it has established a reputation for inclusion with its characters.

Of course, it hasn't been easy for the writers to develop the character; they had to find a way of making the condition come across clearly and authentically to pre-school children, without bumping into any stereotypes.

"And then it turns into a game where they're all jumping like her". Big Bird leads the cast, who teach numbers, colors, and the alphabet to viewers through songs and games.

"The "Meet Julia" episode is something that I wish my son's friends had been able to see when they were small", Ms. Gordon told the Associated Press. They might not have been anxious when he cried.

Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the founders of the Children's Television Workshop which developed "Sesame Street", said it has also not been afraid to deal with real life issues including the death of a beloved character, Mr. Hooper in 1983.

"In the US, one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder", Betancourt said in the interview.

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