Sesame Street is adding a new muppet to the mix and her name is Julia, the series’ first character with autism. The character was revealed on 60 Minutes, which featured a segment about Julia and her addition to the neighborhood.
Julia made her first appearance in October 2015 in an online Digital Storybook story called Sesame Street and Autism: See the amazing in all children. She is set to make her debut on the long-running children’s show in April, and will be introduced to Big Bird by friends Elmo and Abby Cadabby.
“As the parent of a child with autism, I wished that it had come out years before, when my own child was at the Sesame Street age,” Stacey Gordon, the puppeteer who plays Julia, told 60 Minutes.
Christine Ferraro, a writer for Sesame Street added, “It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism.” To develop Julia, the team worked closely with autism organizations, educators, and families to decide the best way to portray a child with autism, including how to explain autism at a pre-school level.
“We’re going to tell you more about what that means, and why she’s acting this way,” Rosemarie Truglio, Senior Vice President for Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop stated. “Give children that information. She’s acting this way because she’s on the autism spectrum.”