Sesame Street Introduces Julia, a Muppet with Autism
Sesame Street has done wonders with their TV show by bringing in a new character that has autism. The character, Julia, is soft-spoken, likes to pick flowers, and is four years old. Stacy Gordon, the puppet veteran that is playing Julia’s part says, “There’s so many people that have given her what she is. I’m just hoping to bring her to heart”. The other characters, such as Big Bird, often has to repeat himself to Julia for her to understand what he is saying. The muppets play a huge role by accepting her as she is and maintaining a good relationship when trying to learn about Julia’s autism.
Gordon relates to Julia because she has worked closely with kids with autism. She knows how they act and she knows how they are treated. It is different than what kids without autism are used to. Children with the disorder will feel connected with Julia’s nature, as will their friends. It is a great resource for children without autism who do not know how to socialize with playmate’s who do.
Gordon goes on to say, “Man, I really wish that kids in my son’s class had grown up with a Sesame Street that had modeling [of] the behaviour of inclusion of characters with autism,”. The senior vice president at the Sesame Workshop, Jeanette Betancourt said it took them three years to develop Julia. Sesame Street has had workshops done to support parents who have died or veterans, but Julia comes out to represent a problem few talk about. Sesame Street is hoping to reach out to parents that have children with autism to show that they are supported through tough times. It is important for a TV show, especially since children do watch TV daily to include a character that identifies with them. It also gives kids who do not have autism a chance to be informed about children who have autism and will make it easier to get along with them.
Sherrie Westin who looked at Sesame Street’s Workshop is impressed. She said, “It’s what Sesame does best, you know: Reaching children, looking at these things through their lens and building a greater sort of sense of commonality,”.
Julia is also described with the talent of drawing. The skills that she has will show children and parents that having autism can still bring wonderful gifts into the world. The rest of the muppets treat her the same way they treat each other, which means she is included in singing, dancing, and playing with them. There is a deep respect within the show and the characters remain comfortable with Julia.
The show so far has had good ratings with the new character. It will air on TV stations such as PBS Kids, HBO, and YouTube. Later in the year, more countries and languages will be adopted. The material introduced helps children feel more at ease with social activities and with friends and family. Families that do not have children with autism feel more accepting now while watching Sesame Street. Though Julia does not possess all characteristics of autism, she still has certain ones that are recognizable on television. The show is going to be a hit when people notice that Julia has autism. It is time for kids TV shows to include more diversity, though not as severe. Children growing up will remember what they were taught through TV and the media and learn to be inviting of new friends and family. Media has a huge effect on just about anyone nowadays, knowing the ins and outs of Sesame Street’s new character will be rewarding in the future with children and adults.