'Sesame Street' introduces Julia, a Muppet with autism, to regular cast

Pablo Tucker
March 20, 2017

The groundbreaking public television children's programme is introducing a new character, a muppet named Julia who has autism, the show's creators revealed on the CBS News show 60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday.

That all ends now, as Julia is about to become a regular member of the Sesame Street cast. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

Sesame Street has often experimented with new ways of teaching children about social issues as well as their ABCs since its launch almost 50 years ago. "And they see that these- these can be their friends too", she added. But the other muppets tell him: "She does things just a little differently".

Stacey Gordon, the voice actress behind Julia, has a child with autism herself.

Confused, Big Bird thinks "that maybe she didn't like me".

Making Julia a female character, rather than male, will also help parents in another way. "There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism, '" Ferraro said.

"It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism", Ferraro told CBS. "Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion and like her ..."

"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", Gordon said.

Julia, a four-year-old, red haired, bright-eyed muppet is "smiley, curious and loves to play" and will feature on the show next month, according to its website. They might not have been anxious when he cried.

"That's just Julia being Julia", Abby said. On Sesame Street, Julia will show heightened sensitivity to noise and have meltdowns when she's overwhelmed.

Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for US social impact at parent company Sesame Workshop, has been helping plot the development of Julia for about three years.

"Basically, in terms of vulnerable families, we're looking at families who may have particular stressors in their lives that are impacting their young children", Betancourt says, "whether it's economic or social emotional stresses or differences that they're handling at the time".

The episode wraps up with the characters playing tag.

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