First Autistic Muppet to debut next month on "Sesame Street"

Brooke Mueller

In 2015, we introduced you to Sesame Street's newest digital character, Julia - a muppet who is meant to represent an autistic child. While the character has been part of the show's franchise, in the form of books and digital shorts, since a year ago, Julia will debut on Sesame Street April 10, according to NPR.

The adorable red-haired character has been so popular that she is now being introduced alongside Big Bird and Elmo as a regular member of the Sesame Street cast.

"For years, families of children with autism have asked us to address the issue", Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of USA social impact at the nonprofit Sesame Workshop, said in a statement.

The creators of Sesame Street revealed the new character in an interview with 60 minutes, noting that Julia will appear alongside Elmo and Abby.

Stacey Gordon, a Phoenix-based puppeteer, mother to a son with autism and former therapist for children on the spectrum, will perform as Julia in the show's new season. After Julia starts excitedly jumping up and down on the spot, Abby then adapts this into their game.

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"Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things". But the inclusion of Julia on the live-action show is important-so much so that she's making headlines around the world.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Big Bird is anxious that Julia doesn't like him at first.

How will Sesame Street's makers portray the autistic child? Several social media users said that the show embracing Autism awareness is a great initiative for children.

"I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on "Sesame Street" who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia", said Christine Ferraro. Julia has a strong connection to art, loves to sing and has autism. "So, it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is", Ferarro said. "I said, "If she's ever a puppet, I want to BE Julia!'" No wonder. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's okay", she added.

Bringing Julia to life as a Sesame Street Muppet is the centerpiece of all of our new materials to support families of children with autism. "There's so many people that have given her what she is". His son, who has autism, watched the show as a child.

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