'Sesame Street' debuts Julia, a new Muppet with autism

21 March, 2017, 11:42 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

According to Entertainment Weekly, Julia first appeared in the Sesame Street universe in a 2015 digital storybook called "Sesame Street and Autism: See the unbelievable in All Children".

The creators of "Sesame Street" announced Sunday that the popular show would introduce a muppet named Julia who has autism.

Her name is Julia, and it is hoped she will help the show's young viewers better understand children on the autism spectrum.

"We're modelling the way both children and adults can look at autism from a strength-based perspective", a Sesame Street executive told Newser.

The last major character to be added to the "Sesame Street" TV lineup was Abby Cadabby in 2006.

In the introductory segment, Julia is having fun with Abby and Elmo when Big Bird walks up. (Disclosure: CBS, which airs "60 Minutes", is CNET's parent company.) And "Sesame Street" has unloaded numerous videos of Julia to its YouTube channel, including one in which she shows a fascination with bubbles, and another where it's explained that Julia sometimes flaps her arms when she's excited. But the inclusion of Julia on the live-action show is important-so much so that she's making headlines around the world.

The children's TV show will introduce Julia, a character with a short orange bob, on American channels in April 2017.

Julia is played by puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who told the Associated Press her 13-year-old son also has autism. As with many children who are on the autism spectrum, Julia is particularly sensitive to noise.

She's "Sesame Street's" newest neighbor and her autism diagnosis affects her communication and social skills and causes some abnormal behavioral interests. 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 that's OK".

"She's one of the kids, she's one of the gang", said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which helped Sesame Street develop the new muppet, on NPR.

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

In her first screen appearance, Julia is at first misunderstood by Big Bird, who thinks Julia ignores him on objective.

"I think the big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this?"

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