Sesame Street gets first character with autism

Julia will feature in guides aimed at 2-5 year-olds teaching them about autism

Jess Denham
Thursday 22 October 2015 14:40 BST
Introducing Sesame Street's new character Julia
Introducing Sesame Street's new character Julia (Sesame Workshop)

Sesame Street fans will soon be introduced to the show’s first character with autism.

Julia has joined thanks to the Sesame Workshop’s new initiative, See Amazing in All Children, that aims to remove stigma and help families overcome the challenges that autism can present.

She will be a little girl who “does things a little differently” while playing with her friends and helps explain autism from the perspective of a child who has the condition.

“If you’re five years old and see another kid not making eye contact with you, you may think that child doesn’t want to play with you, but that’s not the case,” Sesame Workshop’s Sherrie Westin said in a statement. “We want to create greater awareness and empathy.”

(Pic: Sesame Workshop) (Sesame Workshop)

Julia will be seen in the initiative’s storybooks, free app and videos as a digital character but will not feature in the TV series. This is because families with autistic children “tend to gravitate toward digital content”, according to Westin.

The National Autistic Society reports that 700,000 people are diagnosed with autism in the UK alone, with chief executive Mark Lever hoping Sesame Street’s move will “inspire” future characters with autism.

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