Our Sesame Street gang has a new playmate and her name is Julia – a four year old girl with autism. The show introduced her as Big Bird’s friend who ‘does things a bit differently.’ She was first introduced in a Sesame Street picturebook, and is part of a program called See Amazing in All Children. Their aim is to help neurotypical kids and parents in understanding autistic children. They hope that through this program that people will accept other kids’ differences.
Julia will debut at the show on April 10 during Autism Awareness Month, but her character has already been launched online. She already has online sketches with Abby Cadabby and the infamous Big Bird. Both sketches were designed to help children have a better understanding of autistic children and how to interact with them as well.
“Sometimes friends like different things, so it can be hard to figure out what to play together.” Abby Cadabby said in her sketch with Julia. That encompasses what Julia is and what the show wants kids to understand.
The show creators collaborated with experts and organizations in creating Julia’s character. The creators say that they know that she won’t represent every spectrum that autism has, but they hope that highlighting traits like social anxiety, sensitivity to noise, and high energy will give kids a new understanding of their autistic friends.
The show first graced the TV screens back in 1969. Until now, it has stayed true to their mission of educating young minds around the world about everything. They go beyond letters and numbers. They acknowledge that a child needs to learn things beyond ABC.
In ’77, they tackled public breastfeeding, now they’re introducing a child with autism into their gang. This is nothing new. If anything, this is classic Sesame Street – and it’s amazing.