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Sesame Street Just Introduced Its First Muppet With Autism

So in Julia's introductory episode, they're working to help audiences understand when a kid with autism doesn't behave in a typical way by having Elmo and Abby Cadabby explain why Julia didn't respond when Big Bird talked to her.

Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop's senior vice president of USA social impact, said: "We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children".

Allen says some children with autism can find it hard to make friends, and need other children to learn to better understand how they function.

"We felt that creating a character who was autistic would allow children to identify her but equally important, it would allow us to model for all children the differences and commonalities of a child with autism. There is an expression that goes, "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism". The child at the beach who stays under a towel because the scenery is too much for them to take in.

Then, the situation turns into a new game in which all the children jump around with Julia. Julia's character aims to combat stigmas associated with autism spectrum disorder, as diagnoses of autism have grown. Stacey Gordon, the mother of a son with autism, will be the puppeteer for Julia. "I would like her to be just Julia".

"I thought that maybe she didn't like me", Big Bird told Stahl.

On Sesame Street's website, she can be seen in short videos alongside some of the show's most iconic characters such as Elmo and Abby.

Betancourt, in a press release, said families affected by autism have appealed to "Sesame Street" for years to address the condition. That they are in fact a normal part of life.

Host Lesley Stahl met Julia and spoke to Elmo and Big Bird about their new friend.

The team was also mindful that the character of Julia was not a "one size fits all". Now the fully realized Muppet version of Julia will feature on the long-running children's show. Rather than thinking this odd, her new friends on Sesame Street make it a game. The muppet even has different sets of eyes, so that she can close them when she needs time to calm down, and a set of arms that can flap wildly if she does get overwhelmed.

Ferraro added: "I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on "Sesame Street" who has autism. But the other muppets tell him, "She does things just a little differently", she told CBS News.



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