Local Organization Applauds Sesame Street for New Character with Autism

by Noah Mcgee April 1, 2017, 1:30

Long-running children's television show Sesame Street is welcoming a new kid to the block - a Muppet with autism called Julia.

Julia will make three appearances during the current season of Sesame Street and her role will expand as the show continues.

Julia, who loves to sing and can memorise lyrics better than her young peers, struggles with loud noises like sirens, which can cause her to become emotionally upset. Julia is autistic, and shyness is a trait of autism, as are flapping hands, a sensitivity to noise, and a slowness to understand-all of which Julia also demonstrated during the Sesame Street segment.

"It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism", writer Christine Ferraro told "60 Minutes". She ignores Big Bird when he tries to talk to her.

"When you can have a character that shows what autism is, it will help everyone who watches Sesame Street have a really good appreciation of what a is, in a positive way", Badesch said. Stacey Gordon, the mother of a son with autism, will be the puppeteer for Julia.

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Julia was first introduced in an online-only animated short in 2015.

Scenes with Julia are meant to remove whatever discomfort people may feel upon meeting a child with autism.

The Arc of Florida says "Sesame Street" has had a number of diverse characters in its history, but this is the first time it's introduced one on the autism spectrum.

"It's important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like", Gordon told the CBS show 60 Minutes in a preview on Sunday. Had my son's friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. She notes that removing that sense of isolation was a central motivation in creating Julia.


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