'Sesame Street' Introduces Julia, a Muppet With Autism

Julia made her first public appearance on

The creators of "Sesame Street" announced Sunday that the popular show would introduce a muppet named Julia who has autism.

The creative team behind "Sesame Street's" newest addition worked with autism organizations to decide which characteristics Julia should have and how best to normalize autism for all children.

When Julia first appears on the show she'll be introduced by Elmo and Abby Cadabby to Big Bird.

"We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children. How do we talk about autism?'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, CNN reported.

"Autism is not a set package that makes you the same as the next person with autism".

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.

Covering everything from encouraging an active imagination to racism, they have taught children across the world all about how to be respectful and understanding of others.

"Sesame Street" started in 1969 as a experiment to see whether a television show could educate young children.

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 awesome 1, 2, 3". "I would like her to be just Julia".

Confused, Big Bird thinks "that maybe she didn't like me".

The long-running educational show Sesame Street has maintained a positive reputation among kids and their parents for its willingness to be as diverse and inclusive as possible. However, she revealed that she would personally "love" Julia to enjoy a starring role.

The "Meet Julia" episode will premiere simultaneously on HBO and PBS Kids. "I wished that it had come out years before, when my own child was at the Sesame Street age", she told 60 Minutes.

Like all Sesame Street characters, Julia was brought to life by a mix of storywriters, educators, and psychologists, and her puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism. In her first episode, Julia will be seen bonding with a few children. "But the other muppets tell him, "She does things just a little differently", she told CBS News.

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