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Welcome Julia, Sesame Street’s first autistic character

Sesame Street has introduced its first autistic character named Julia in an effort to help destigmatize autism.

tv Updated: Dec 16, 2015 15:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Sesame Street,Sesame Street Autism,Sesame Workshop
Here’s Julia, the first autistic character on Sesame Street.(Sesame Workshop)

As part of Sesame Workshop’s new digital initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a new character named Julia was created. Now, Julia is all set to become the first autistic character to feature on children’s Sesame Street. Julia is a ‘preschool girl with autism who does things a little differently when playing with her friends, the lovable Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Grover.’

The show’s producers have introduced the new muppet in an effort to ‘help destigmatize autism.’

“She has some behaviors like not looking at you directly in the eye, she’s a little more sensitive to noises and lights but when she comes together with Abby and Elmo, she’s shares not only these challenges but also what she shares in common,” Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, the senior vice president of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, told ABC News.

Here’s Julia, the first autistic character on Sesame Street. (Sesame Workshop)

“Sesame Workshop is uniquely positioned to play a meaningful role in increasing peoples’ understanding about autism,” said Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop. “This project is an extension of the belief we’ve always promoted: ‘we are all different, but all the same.’”

Julia is, for the time being, only a part of Sesame’s digital domain and not the popular TV show.

“We wanted to make this a very targeted effort, so we assured that we’re making the greatest reach and impact directly with the families that could use it the most,” said Betancourt. “We know children with autism often use assistive technology or touch technology and this was a natural way to go.”

First Published: Oct 22, 2015 16:15 IST