Children's TV favourite Sesame Street has added a new character to its ensemble, an orange-haired muppet named Julia, who has autism.
A new Muppet is about to join Elmo and the gang down on Sesame Street, and she's here to teach children a lesson about acceptance.
The show's creators hope the new character will help children better understand playmates who have autism, which is affecting more and more American kids. We're modeling the way both children and adults can look at autism from a strength-based perspective: "finding things that all children share". "There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with Autism, you've met one person with Autism, '" Ferraro said. To get children educated at such a young age about autism is a fantastic leap forward. The other characters do not make fun of Julia for this odd reaction, but rather make it a part of their game.
Over the nearly five decades "Sesame Street" has been on the air, it has established a reputation for inclusion with its characters. "It's just that Julia has autism", Elmo said. 'I would like her to be just Julia'.
Gordon tells CBS that she was able to channel her personal experience when doing scenes where Julia was upset by loud noises, as that's a particular challenge her son has.
Several beloved Sesame Street characters opened up to 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl about their first interaction with Julia. One was a team of researchers at Georgetown University who surveyed more than 1,000 families on how effectively Sesame Street tools were working.
The episode shows Julia playing with fellow Muppets Abby and Elmo when Big Bid enters the scene.
Meet Julia, 'Sesame Street's newest character that is autist. In her first episode, Julia will be seen bonding with a few children. She also loves to play with her favorite stuffed animal. And perhaps the puppeteer with the closest connection to his or her muppet is Stacey Gordon, who plays the role of Julia. After Julia starts excitedly jumping up and down on the spot, Abby then adapts this into their game. The other characters will accept Julia, even when she does things differently, and this could directly impact the way children with autism are treated in their own lives.