Children’s television show Sesame Street has introduced a new member on their cast, Julia, a little, orange-haired girl with autism. The character will make her TV debut in April, BBC reported.
Julia’s character had been added to the cast some time ago, but she was only seen in digital and printed storybooks. The creative team worked with several autism organisations to frame Julia’s characteristics in an effort to normalise autism for children.
“It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism,” Christine Ferraro, Sesame Street writer, said in an interview with CBS News. The creators believe introducing an autistic character on the show will make it easier for children to interact with those diagnosed with it in real life.
In her debut episode, Julia will be shown getting excited and jumping and down on seeing a group of children playing tag. The other children are shown to create a new game in which they all jump around together and thus accept Julia, instead of rejecting her for being “different”.
“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on ‘Sesame Street’ who has autism, I would like her to be just Julia,” Ferrao said.
Stacey Gordon, Julia’s puppeteer, has an autistic child.