Sesame Street’s First Character With Autism Makes Her TV Debut
Julia has finally arrived!
Sesame Street’s newest character, a muppet with autism, made her very first appearance on television Sunday, Mar. 19 during 60 Minutes. The appearance comes just a month before Julia will join the rest of the cast of Sesame Street on PBS.
Dressed in multiple shapes of pink, the striking green-eyed, red-haired muppet carries a little stuffed friend of her own for comfort. Julia’s introduction to the show will help kids understand their differently abled peers.
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes, muppet veterans Big Bird and Elmo elaborated with host Lesley Stahl.
“We had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird. It’s just that Julia has autism,” Elmo said. “So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things.”
Stacey Gordon, the voice actress behind Julia, has a child with autism herself. To Gordon, Julia’s presence on the long-running children’s program means the world.
“It means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society,” she said on 60 Minutes. “Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion, it’s huge.”
“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,” Gordon continued, “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 okay.”
Catch Julia on PBS in April 2017.