In 2015, iconic children’s educational TV show “Sesame Street” introduced a character on one of their digital animated computer app for desktop and mobile devices. This was a special initiative of theirs to increase public awareness on autism, and the great number of children in the US who had that condition. The character was named Julia, and she was autistic herself. Her participation in the “Sesame Street and Autism: See All in Amazing Children” app was to provide informational resources and helpful tips for family and friends to better interacting with autistic children like Julia. Now, the redheaded and wide-eyed little tyke is crossing over mediums to appear in the “Sesame Street” show itself as a new Muppet character.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that Muppet Julia is set to officially join the long-running children’s show in April. She actually showed up on the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” last Sunday March 19. At the same time, Julia also showed on a YouTube video clip on the official “Sesame Street” channel, where she and Abby Cadabby are fascinated by a passing butterfly. Show writer Christie Ferraro told “60 Minutes” in an interview how Julia becoming a regular Muppet character is the next step in exposing and educating their young audience to autism and the children with it. For instance, a blurb on her introductory episode will have her newly moved into the street and being greeted by residents Big Bird and others, who try to shake her hand only to be turned down. It’s their attempt to understand why Julia didn’t return their gesture – mistakenly assuming that she doesn’t like them – that will spark the lesson on autistic traits.
More scenes from the future episode are also detailed in BBC. Some of the Sesame Street residents wonder when Julia randomly starts jumping up and down when seeing other children at play. Here Ferraro will explain more about her unique circumstances, and in a positive outcome the children will invite Julia to join them in a new game of just jumping up and down.
The great push on Julia’s character is embodied onto her character by her puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who herself is a mother to an autistic son. Gordon was very supportive of the concept for Julia saying, “Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviours through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened.”
It is stated that the ultimate lesson for Julia’s presence on “Sesame Street” is that the other characters and the audience themselves, will eventually stop seeing her as “being autistic” and simply recognize her as “just a girl named Julia”.