Julia is smiley, curious, and loves to play. She is a great singer and can remember all the lyrics of many songs. And she also has autism.
On April 10, Sesame Street will welcome Julia, its first autistic character, during the episode ‘Meet Julia’ on HBO and PBS Kids. A groundbreaking move that the team behind the kids TV series have been working on for several years as an effort to normalize how children interact with each other, no matter their differences.
“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.” – Stacey Gordon, Julia’s Puppeteer told 60 Minutes
The character of Julia made her very first appearance in a digital book story called ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See the amazing in all children’ in 2015, before 60 Minutes revealed last weekend that she was about to become part of the TV show.
During the 60 Minutes story, we’ve also learned that Stacey Gordon, the puppeteer who plays Julia, has a son with autism. A situation that connects her deeply with her character. “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,” said Gordon.
Sesame Street has a long history of introducing characters with differences facing big challenges who send a message of tolerance and empathy, like Kami, the first muppet with HIV, and Alex, whose father was in prison.
Learn more about the creation of Julia in the video, below: