Sesame Street Introduces Julia, New Muppet With Autism

While at the Jim Henson Workshop Lesley Stahl built her own Muppet Tallulah on the left               CBS News

While at the Jim Henson Workshop Lesley Stahl built her own Muppet Tallulah on the left CBS News

Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, knows a lot about the new character.

"I just wish Julia was around when my son was younger", Gordon, who requested her son's name and photo be kept out of the story, tells PEOPLE. "They might not have been anxious when he cried".

Big Bird and Sesame Street stalwart Elmo appeared on CBS's 60 minutes on 17 March, to talk with host Lesley Stahl.

The "Meet Julia" special episode of Sesame Street will have a landmark joint premiere on HBO and PBS Kids on April 10. Elmo also said in "60 Minutes" that they will explain to Big Bird why Julia takes "a little longer to do things".

The world met Julia, the first permanent Muppet to appear on the show since Segi, past year as part of Sesame Street's autism awareness initiative, "See Amazing In All Children". On Sesame Street, Julia will show heightened sensitivity to noise and have meltdowns when she's overwhelmed.

Sesame Street writers have made a decision to have the other characters immediately include Julia into their "gang", rather than leave her out as sadly some autistic children are.

Julia is four years old, shy, misses social cues from time to time, and tends to repeat what she has just heard from others. These characters are the show's most familiar faces, and while these classic muppets will never leave the series, every once in a while the creators introduce someone new.

Sesame Street is adding a new character named Julia, who has red hair and is autistic.

One in 68 children are on the autism spectrum. And the kids react well, but joining Julia and jumping up and down also.

"That is one of my favorite things about "Sesame Street" is that they're so inclusive of showing kids of all shapes, sizes, types, everything", Lindsay Dorff, a Green Bay mom, said. "They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's OK".

She hopes Julia will help other kids to understand that people with autism sometimes act and play differently.

"As a parent of two kids with autism, I'm thrilled that there's finally a character with autism on Sesame Street", Rosner said.

As NPR reports, 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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