UT professors weigh in on new Sesame Street character with autism

Julia was first introduced to the world in 2015 as part of digital storybook called "Sesame Street and Autism: See the wonderful in all children", and come April, she'll have a permanent role on the long-running children's show, as first reported by Vulture. Her introduction is part of Sesame Street's autism-related "See Amazing In All Children" campaign, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as one in 68 US schoolchildren is autistic.

"Just as we look at all children as being unique, we should do the same thing when we're looking at children with autism".

Sesame Street's newest muppet is set to be an autistic character named Julia, who will be moving into the neighbourhood on April 10 and will also be the children's series first new character in a decade.

In developing Julia, and outside educational tools for children with autism, the Sesame Street Workshop consulted 14 autism groups.

This isn't the first time the Sesame Street gang has grappled with issues of diversity and worked to destigmatize other heavy topics.

In Julia's episode, young viewers will be introduced to her common characteristics with autism.

Speaking to 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl, Big Bird (played by Caroll Spinney, who never appears out of character lest it confuse the children), revealed that, at first, he wasn't sure if Julia liked him. But the inclusion of Julia on the live-action show is important-so much so that she's making headlines around the world. "So, sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things". "This is so special for me to be Julia, it's going to be huge for the autism community".

This is "Julia", and she has autism. She said she "prayed the gay away" at Christian camps but later met people outside of her "bubble". The new season of Sesame Street does not seek to portray autism as something the character must "overcome" in order to achieve success. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that's okay.

The creators of Sesame Street say they hope will help kids better understand those who have autism.

Julia is just adorable, isn't she?

Julia, chuckling, then shows the others a new way of playing tag, and everyone joins in. Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, also has an autistic son.

  • Carolyn Briggs