Sesame Street debuts new character with autism

21 March, 2017, 10:41 | Author: Benny Bass

The Sesame Street team wanted to make sure that the character was portrayed well, and they worked closely with autism organizations when creating Julia.

Check out our guide to Autism here.

As David Folkenflik reports for NPR, Julia will make her first television appearance on April 10, becoming the first new Muppet to join the Sesame Street cast in a decade. Julia sometimes takes a while to answer questions, and she tends to repeat what her friends say, because she has autism. But the other Muppets tell him: "She does things just a little differently". Julia could be a possible game-changer, and hopefully, her introduction into the popular educational show signals a trend of representation and inclusion.

Stacey Gordon, the puppeteer who plays Julia, has a son with autism. "The Meet Julia episode is something that I wish my son's friends had been able to see when they were small", said Gordon to the Associated Press.

"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", Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for USA social impact at parent company Sesame Workshop, explained.

Next month, viewers of "Sesame Street" will be introduced to Julia, a Muppet with autism.

"I think it really shows that our community has embraced kids with differences", Gardner said.

In the episode, called "Meet Julia" the character of Alan carefully answers questions about Julia's autism disorder.

Julia's message is special for one little MA girl, also named Julia. According to the BBC, girls with autism are under-diagnosed, since their symptoms often appear in different ways than they do with boys. "How do we talk about autism?,'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl.

The New York Times describes Julia as someone who "loves to sing and can memorize lyrics better than her young peers, [and] struggles with loud noises like sirens, which can cause her to become emotionally upset".

"And she has autism", the website adds.

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