Sesame Street's newest muppet is set to be an autistic character named Julia, who will be moving into the neighbourhood on April 10 and will also be the children's series first new character in a decade.
In the episode, Julia demonstrates common characteristics of autism, and when Big Bird is introduced to her, she ignores him.
Sesame Street is one of the most engaging children shows known for its educational content and animated characters.
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Stacey Gordon, the puppeteer who will perform the role of Julia, and Christine Ferraro who wrote her part, both have family members who are on the autism spectrum.
Julia's debut episode will deal with what autism can look like. As the other characters on the show interact with Julia, they often explain her behaviors in a calm, nearly casual way, saying things like "sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things", according to Slate. Gordon knows first-hand what it's like living in Julia's world, because her own son has autism.
Elmo, Alan Muraoka, new Muppet Julia, Abby Cadabby, and Big Bird celebrate the "amazing" in all children.
She's "Sesame Street's" newest neighbor and her autism diagnosis affects her communication and social skills and causes some abnormal behavioral interests. Several social media users said that the show embracing Autism awareness is a great initiative for children.
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"I thought that maybe she didn't like me", Big Bird told 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl.
'We hope that Julia, the Sesame Street character, will have a similar effect and inspire other writers and film-makers to reflect the diversity of the autism spectrum in their work'. To get children educated at such a young age about autism is a fantastic leap forward.
The Julia character has been featured in "Sesame Street"-branded digital content since previous year". She is invited to play a game with fellow muppets Oscar, Abby and Grover, where they must point out different shapes. Preliminary findings suggest the material helps families with autistic children feel more comfortable incorporating them in broader community activities, and that families whose children do not have autism are more accepting of those kids who do.
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