There will soon be a new face on the Sesame Street. On an episode of “Meet Julia,” airing April 10th, Sesame Street will introduce an amazing four-year-old, with fiery red hair and beautiful green eyes, but she “expresses herself in different ways” because Julia has autism. As a part of the show’s push for inclusivity and long-standing dedication to education, the show’s creators have included a new friend for the gang that will have you falling in love with her from day one.
“There’s so many different ways that autism affects people,” commented screenwriter Christine Ferraro in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “And there’s no way that we could possibly show everything. There’s no way we could be symbolic of every kid that’s out there. So we had to pick one lane and go in it. And when we talk about it on the show, when Big Bird asks Alan, ‘What’s autism?’ Alan answered, ‘Well, for Julia, it’s this.”
Julia’s puppeteer, Stacy Gordon, is very familiar with the special nuances of the new character because of her son. “I have been preparing for Julia for my whole life,” she stated in an interview with the Associated Press. “I have a son who has high-functioning autism. And I want to do my best to bring Julia to the world in the best light possible. The ‘Meet Julia’ episode is something that I wish my son’s friends had been able to see when they were small. I remember him having meltdowns and his classmates not understanding how to react.”
Julia first started her journey to the famous street as a character in a children’s book, We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3, by Leslie Kimmelman, who was also inspired by her own son. “More than 20 years ago, my beautiful son received the diagnosis of autism, and my world changed instantly and profoundly. I knew nothing about autism, and it seemed that those around me-even the professionals-didn’t know much either. Today, happily, that has changed. There’s greater awareness, and there has been much progress understanding autism.”
Check out the video below to get a first look at the upcoming episode. To further understand the vast definitions of Autism, click here to visit the Autism Speaks website.