Julia, a Muppet With Autism, Joins 'Sesame Street' Cast

Stacey Gordon with Julia               CBS News

Stacey Gordon with Julia CBS News

60 Minutes broke the news Sunday in a special introduction of the four-year-old Julia, who was first introduced in 2015 as part of an online-only Digital Storybook called "Sesame Street and Autism: See the fantastic in all children". Julia first featured on the Sesame Street website as a character in an online storybook, now she has appeared on the show's Twitter page. "We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children. We're modeling the way both children and adults can look at autism from a strength-based perspective: finding things that all children share", she said.

"Sesame Street" is welcoming a new cast member to its TV show. Later in the episode, Julia is jumping up and down excitedly. "But the other muppets tell him, "She does things just a little differently", she told CBS News. Julia, a Muppet with autism is a little red haired girl, whose "Muppet human" is the mother of a child with autism, with different verbal communication skills than Big Bird and others. The rabbit will make her debut in April in the US. The show runners noted that Julia will meet Big Bird and be hesitant to shake the character's hand.

-The Muppet gang will welcome a new pal named Julia to TV's friendliest street next month.

Beloved children's TV show Sesame Street has always led the way in teaching children to be good, kind human beings.

"Give children that information", Truglio said.

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"I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism", she added.

The objective of Julia's character will be to combat stigmas associated with the autism spectrum, as diagnoses have continually grown. Like many PBS shows, it's a crucial way to bridge learning gaps for children. "How do we talk about autism?,'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl. She tells A.P. that the "Meet Julia" introductory episode is something her son's friends were able to see when they were younger.

Lever called it a "significant step" in improving public understanding of autism, and making people on the autism spectrum feel more accepted. Julia, chuckling, then displays a different-but-fun way of playing tag, and everyone joins in.

Sesame Street worked with 250 autism organizations and experts, including Autism Speaks, as well as its own regular child psychologists to develop Julia.

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