Sesame Street debuts first autistic character

There's a new Muppet on the block! Watch a clip of Julia above!

"Hi, Julia", Stahl said to the red-headed Muppet, who remained quiet - the same reaction she'll have when meeting Big Bird in her upcoming debut episode.

The children's TV show is introducing a new muppet character which has orange hair, a toy rabbit - and autism.

In developing Julia, and outside educational tools for children with autism, the Sesame Street Workshop consulted 14 autism groups. "I thought that maybe she didn't like me", Big Bird said after revealing that Julia initially ignored him.

But it is later explained to them that "she just does things a little differently - in a Julia sort of way".

Diagnoses of autism have risen steadily in recent years to the rate of one in every 68 American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "She's acting this way because she's on the autism spectrum". "They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's okay", she added.

But to meet their goal of having Julia accepted as one of the gang, the team also committed to teaching kids how to play with her.

"The "Meet Julia" episode is something that I wish my son's friends had been able to see when they were small", Ms. Gordon told the Associated Press.




Badesch said that it was obvious the committee "really wanted to get it right - and they got it right", with Julia's character.

"You have everything from a child like mine who cannot speak and goes to a school with autism, all the way up to people who can speak who are very smart".

Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro introduced Julia to viewers of U.S. current affairs show 60 Minutes.

Leslie Kimmelman, a children's author, explained she was inspired by her own son when she created Julia's character in her book, "We're fantastic 1, 2, 3".

Sesame Street, which has been on the air since 1969, and is broadcast in 20 countries, has long used its platform to promote positive messages.

In creating the character, Ferraro and the show's other writers consulted with autism advocacy organizations in order to ensure they were properly and respectfully portraying the condition.

Ferraro hopes that along with educating viewers about autism the new character will settle in as a part of the neighborhood.

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