New muppet with autism takes starring role in Sesame Street
Chances are you know someone with autism; you might have an autistic child in your family or know someone who is on the spectrum as diagnoses are on the increase. That’s why the UKMums.TV team was delighted to hear the news that the popular children’s TV show Sesame Street has introduced a new muppet character called Julia, a little girl with orange hair and a toy rabbit…who also happens to be autistic.
Julia is set to join popular characters Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch for her screen debut in the US next month, but fans of the series might already know her as she’s been featured in digital and printed storybooks. As the BBC reports, Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro told the CBS News show 60 Minutes she would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism. “I would like her to be just Julia," she said.
Julia’s first episode will see her demonstrate some common characteristics. For example, when Big Bird is introduced to her, she ignores him. Confused, Big Bird thinks "that maybe she didn't like me". But the other muppets tell him: "She does things just a little differently." Ferraro also admitted it was tricky "because autism is not one thing” and it is different for every single person who has autism”.
Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon who happens to be the mother of an autistic son, is also quoted as saying: "Had my son's friends been exposed to his behaviours through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened.”
We welcome the news here at UKMums.TV. Anything that helps educate children (and adults for that matter) about the condition is a brilliant move in our eyes. We look forward to seeing orange-haired Julia and her pet rabbit on our screens very soon!