Entertainment

Posted: March 20, 2017

'Sesame Street' welcomes Julia, new character with autism

This image released by Sesame Workshop shows Julia, a new autistic muppet character debuting on the 47th Season of
Zach Hyman/AP
This image released by Sesame Workshop shows Julia, a new autistic muppet character debuting on the 47th Season of "Sesame Street," on April 10, 2017, on both PBS and HBO. (Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop via AP)

By Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

NEW YORK —

A character with autism is joining Elmo, Big Bird and the other familiar faces on "Sesame Street."

The iconic children's show, which airs on PBS and HBO, will introduce a new Muppet, Julia, to TV audiences April 10, according to The Associated Press.

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Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" offered a closer look at Julia, who has appeared online and in print as part of Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children" initiative since 2015.

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"It's important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like," Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism, told "60 Minutes."

Host Lesley Stahl met Julia and spoke to Elmo and Big Bird about their new friend.

"Hi, Julia," Stahl said to the red-headed Muppet, who remained quiet – the same reaction she'll have when meeting Big Bird in her upcoming debut episode.

"I thought that maybe she didn't like me," Big Bird told Stahl.

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"Yeah, but you know, we had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird – it's just that Julia has autism, so sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things," Elmo said.

Julia also will struggle with loud noises and make up a game with her new friends.

 "They decide to play tag together, but Julia's so excited that she's jumping up and down," writer Christine Ferraro told Stahl. "That's a thing that can be typical of some kids with autism. And then it turns into a game where they're all jumping like her. So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is." 

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