In true Sesame Street fashion of not shying away from talking about real issues that affect kids every day, the show is introducing viewers to a new Muppet named Julia who happens to have autism. The orange-haired muppet will help kids get more comfortable with their peers that have autism and encourage them to be more understanding when they meet kids who may behave a little different.
Fortune magazine reports about Sesame Street’s new autistic character named Julia that appears on their digital content. Though Julia will only exist on their stories online, vice president of global impacts and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop Sherrie Westin, explains how they hope the new muppet will impact families. Westin says, “Families with autistic children tend to gravitate toward digital content, which is why we created Julia digitally. We want parents and children to understand that autism isn’t an uncomfortable topic.”
In the digital stories, Elmo explains to kids how his friend Julia may appear different because she is more sensitive to outside stimuli like noises in a store. While buying some snacks Julia is seen with her hands cupping her ears and Elmo says, “Sometimes she hears noises that Elmo doesn’t notice. Like the noise the blender makes. She really doesn’t like it!”
This issue is certain to hit home with many parents and children, especially when you look at the current statistics on autism. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 68 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. With autism touching the lives of so many of us, it is likely that Julia will be welcomed to the Sesame Street neighborhood by parents and children alike.
What do you think of Sesame Street’s new autistic character named Julia?
Do you think introducing kids to a storyline like this will help them to better understand and be more comfortable with the topic of autism?