New 'Sesame Street' Character Just Arrived; Meet Julia, The First Muppet With Autism

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 20, 04:07 am

"Sesame Street" is now another platform to inform people about autism as the show debuted its first ever Muppet with autism. The Muppet's name is Julia and she will be introduced on the show this April.

She made her first appearance on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. The new Muppet had orange hair and green eyes and Elmo and Abby Cadabby introduced the newcomer to Big Bird. The new character seemed reluctant when Big Bird wanted to shake hands and "60 Minutes" reported, Lesley Stahl, joined in to speak to the other characters about how they helped Julia adjust to the new situation, CBS News reported.

Elmo told Stahl, "We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird. It's just that Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things." "Sesame Street" writer Christine Ferraro also talked about the character, saying it is tricky to incorporate someone with autism into the show because it is different for every person who has autism. Ferraro added she would love Julia not to be the kid on "Sesame Street" with autism but just as Julia.

Ferraro, who is in her 25th year with "Sesame Street" as a writer, said they always base their characters and content on extensive research with the help of educators and child psychologists. This time around, for Julia's character, they worked with autism organizations to decide what characteristics would be shown as well as how to normalize autism, New York Daily News shared.

Stacey Gordon was the person enlisted to voice Julia. Gordon, who has a son with autism, said having Julia on the show made them feel their kids are important enough to be seen in society. The mother and puppeteer shared she channeled her son's experiences in order to better make people understand Julia on "Sesame Street."

Julia appeared in the episode called "New Kid on the Street." The episode ended with the characters playing tag and Julia being part of the group. The episode will let viewers understand how they can help children with autism be comfortable around new people.

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