‘Sesame Street’ Debuts Julia, Muppet With Autism
Sesame Street has debuted its newest addition to the team, Julia, a Muppet with autism.
SESAME STREET DEBUTS JULIA, MUPPET WITH AUTISM
The episode aired on both PBS and HBO simultaneously on Monday. “Our goal is inclusion,” said SVP of U.S. Social Impact Jeanette Betancourt. “By introducing this character we want to focus more on the things that children share, rather than their differences. We do want to acknowledge the differences, but then through them find commonalities.”
Julia made her print and online debut in 2015, but Monday was her first appearance on the TV show. She appeared in a 10-minute clip with Big Bird and the gang fingerpainting. When Big Bird introduces himself to Julia, she doesn’t respond. Host Alan Muraoka explains that it might just take Julia a little longer to answer. “It helps to ask again,” he explains.
Big Bird mistakes what he says, and thinks Julia is just shy. “Well, with Julia, it’s not just that,” Muraoka continues. “You see, she has autism. She likes it when people know that.” When prompted by Big Bird, the host continues. “Well, for Julia, she might not answer you right away, and she may not do what you expect, like give you a high five.”
“Yeah, she does things just a little differently, in a Julia sort of way,” chimes in Abby Cadabby. “And she’s a lot of fun!”
The clip goes on to show various ways Julia might respond to certain stimuli differently than how the other Muppets would. Watch the entire clip above.