Julia, a Muppet with Autism joins Sesame Street
Julia makes Sesame Street TV debut on April 10, 2017
Sesame Street has a way of making everyone feel accepted.
When my children were younger, Sesame Street was one of their favorite TV shows.
A long-time favorite of children and adults, and a staple of PBS, Sesame Street bridges many cultural and educational gaps with a fun program. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colors and the alphabet. Bert & Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other creatures involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities.
As a parent of a child that has autism, I am thrilled that Sesame Street has now introduced a new Muppet youngster, Julia who has autism.
The goal is to promote a better understanding of what the Autism advocacy groups describes as “a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.
Developing Julia and all the other components of this campaign has required years of consultation with organizations, experts and families within the autism community.
Sesame Street wanted to promote a better understanding of autism and reduce the stigma often found around these children.
It was with keen interest that Stacey Gordon first learned of Julia more than a year ago, Stacey has a son with autism and also was a therapist to youngsters on the autism spectrum who happened to be a puppeteer. Stacey Gordon became the voice of Julia.
The sesame workshop says that the character Julia is being introduced as part of an initiative to take the stigma out of autism. The initiative also is aimed at helping those who deal with the developmental disorders.
Sesame Street’s autism campaign #seeamazing makes me happy and proud. I know a lot of work, effort and care went into bringing Julia to life. Julia is one kid with autism. The character doesn’t perfectly represent all kids with autism. However the way the other Muppets and humans interact with Julia and treat her with respect and as just one of the gang is exactly how I would wanted my son to be treated during his childhood.
I really wish that kids in my son’s class had grown up with a Sesame Street that had modeling of the behavior of inclusion of characters with autism.
Sesame Street reaches children, looking at these things through their eyes and building a greater sort of sense of commonality.