Julia, the newest character on Sesame Street, is being highlighted as one of the great steps to keeping programs like PBS alive, by introducing a character with Autism.
Using some of the typical indicators of a child with Autism, the show has Julia not acknowledging Big Bird when he first introduces himself, to Abby singing along with her when she forgets the words.
Meet Julia, the newest friend on Sesame Street. Julia has autism. She's also a really good singer and can remember all the words to lots of songs...like the favorite Sesame Street song, "Sunny Days". Abby's happy to join in!
E! shares that it was a long discussion on how to bring the character to life, and quotes Christine Ferrar's interview with 60 Minutes, stating: "It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism. There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.'"
60Minutes visited the Sesame Street set in NYC during the filming Julia's debut when Big Bird meets the show's first Muppet with autism. https://t.co/8T0MC0LxTM
Stacey Gordon was cast as Julia's puppeteer, and her son has Autism, so she knows what some of the indicators and triggers are. E! quotes, saying "It's important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like. Had my son's friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's OK."
It'll be good for young children to get used to the difference in behavior witnessing it on TV and applying to themselves in real life.