"Sesame Street" will introduce a new character named Julia who has autism on the famous muppets show, on April 10 this year reports said Monday. She was first introduced in 2015 as part of an exclusive online digital storybook that had a story called "Sesame Street and Autism: See the Amazing in All Children." Julia has orange hair and carries a toy rabbit in the show.
The creators wanted this character to play a larger role as autism in children has increased rapidly in recent years. However, it would be a difficult task to explain the topic of autism and its seriousness to children. "The big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this? How do we talk about autism? It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism," Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro told the CBS News show 60 Minutes.
Julia will demonstrate some of the most common characteristics of autism in her debut episode. When Big Bird, another character in the series is introduced to her, she would ignore him, which makes Big Bird confused and he thinks "that maybe she didn't like me." But the other muppets tell him that "She does things just a little differently."
The episode will end with all the four muppets playing tag together and getting along well.
"It was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation they can meet her where she is," said Ferraro.
Stacey Gordon, the one who does Julia's voice has an autistic son and can tackle it well. She wishes that Julia's character would make people more aware and also be a source of information for the future generations. "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. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's OK," she told CBS News show 60 minutes.
Ferraro added "I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on ‘Sesame Street’ who has autism. I would like her to be just Julia."