'Sesame Street' to introduce Julia, a muppet with autism, in April


'Sesame Street' to introduce Julia, a muppet with autism, in April

'Sesame Street' to introduce Julia, a muppet with autism, in April

The episode ends with the four Muppets learning to get along and eventually playing tag.

“It was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation they can meet her where she is,” said longtime “Sesame Street” writer Christine Ferraro.

The creative team behind “Sesame Street’s” newest addition worked with autism organizations to decide which characterizations Julia should have and how best to normalize autism for all children. Puppet designer Rollie Krewson told Stahl about the various details that went into creating the look of Julia, including a set of arms that can flap uncontrollably when Julia’s overwhelmed.

The team was also mindful that the character of Julia was not a “one size fits all.”

“It’s tricky, because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism,” said Ferraro. “There is an expression that goes, ‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.’ ”

Julia’s puppeteer Stacey Gordon knows this herself, as her son has autism. She hopes having a character like Julia on “Sesame Street” will be meaningful for future generations. “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,” she told “60 Minutes.” “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.”

Ferraro added: “I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on ‘Sesame Street’ who has autism. I would like her to be just Julia.”

But maybe Julia said it best when Stahl asked if she was enjoying her new friends.

“Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun,” she replied.



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