Sesame Street introduces new muppet Julia who has autism

Stacey Gordon with Julia               CBS News

The world met Julia, the first permanent Muppet to appear on the show since Segi, previous year as part of Sesame Street's autism awareness initiative, "See Amazing In All Children".

"We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children", Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop's senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact, said. At that point, Julia was a character in children's books, a mobile app, and online stories and videos produced to help kids better understand how to empathetically interact with people who have autism.

Julia will join the Sesame Street cast in April.

Julia's debut episode will deal with what autism can look like. But the other muppets tell him: "She does things just a little differently".

Latest figures show a steady rise in autism diagnoses in the United States over recent years, with one in every 68 children now being affected. "She needs to take a break", explains Big Bird's human friend Alan calmly.

She's the wide-eyed little Muppet with a big smile who has made it to "Sesame Street".

"As the parent of a child with autism, I wished that it had come out years before, when my own child was at the "Sesame Street" age". Stalh also interviewed Rollie Krewson, a puppet designer who says she created Julia's Muppet with sensitivity and careful attention to detail.

On the other hand, Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro said that she didn't want Julia to be seen as "special" just because she had autism. She also said that the other characters making it a game "was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is".

In a recent episode of For Peete's Sake, it was revealed that RJ, who works closely with an autism coach, recently obtained his driver's license.

Since it first aired in 1969, Sesame Street has played an invaluable role in educating children from different socioeconomic backgrounds and walks of life. She's a shy and winsome 4-year-old, with striking red hair and green eyes. "There's so many people that have given her what she is".

Furthermore, the decision to make Julia's character female was no accident.



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