Sesame Street introduces new character Julia, the first Muppet with autism

by Wade Massey March 21, 2017, 0:33
Sesame Street introduces new character Julia, the first Muppet with autism

Julia was first created in 2015, as a part of a digital storybook series called "See the incredible in all Children". Well, in her first episode Big Bird will try to introduce himself to Julia, but the new character won't respond to him.

The Sesame Street campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with Autism as well as introduce a better understanding of the condition.

"There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism'". The muppet was named Unicef's Champion for Children in November 2003. They often feel overwhelmed by sensory issues like noise and bright lights and that means they don't always react the same as other children. In 2015, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that Sesame Street was a very effective low-priced educational supplement for children in economically disadvantaged areas.

Sesame Street writers have chose to have the other characters immediately include Julia into their "gang", rather than leave her out as sadly some autistic children are. 'I would like her to be just Julia'.

"She needs to take a break", Big Bird's human friend Alan calmly explains.

Julia will demonstrate some of the most common characteristics of autism in her debut episode.

Christine Ferraro has been a writer on Sesame Street for two years.

But to meet their goal of having Julia accepted as one of the gang, the team also committed to teaching kids how to play with her. The CDC estimates that one in 68 children have been identified as being on the autism spectrum, making it likely that many children who watch "Sesame Street" will know someone affected by the disorder.

Big Bird met his new neighbor on 60 Minutes last night: Julia, a yellow puppet with orange hair who didn't greet him back. She is beyond excited to play her and hopes to humanize her as much as possible.

Stacey Gordon, Julia's puppeteer, has a son with autism and was previously a therapist to children on the spectrum. These characters are the show's most familiar faces, and while these classic muppets will never leave the series, every once in a while the creators introduce someone new.

Interestingly, after Julia's first appearance in 2015, a mother of a boy with autism wrote a piece for the New York Times, explaining that her son always thought that Fozzie Bear had autism. Rather than make fun of her or be scared by her unusual reaction, the kids make it part of the game.


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