Julia, a 4 year-old Muppet with Autism is set to take the screen on April 10th, 2017.
Julia was first introduced to the muppets in 2015 as part of Sesame Street: See Amazing in All Children initiative. Having a star with Autism on screen in such a huge role is a giant step for the Autism community. Julia has bright orange hair and big green eyes, she is also friends with other muppets Elmo and Abby.
Julia's character is set to be a budding artist with amazing art skills in the series. She is performed by Stacey Gordon, a mother of an Autistic boy herself. Julia will exhibit Moderate autistic tendencies as well as echolalia or repetitive speech. Sesame Street is hoping that by introducing Julia, children will become more familiar with Special Needs children, before they even reach Kindergarten. Most children get no experience with children that are "different" from them prior to school.
While April 10th is Julia's first on screen appearance as an active muppet, she has appeared in Sesame Street books. Due to her popularity, Sesame Street creators have decided to bring Julia to life. Julia is a character that children and families with Autism can relate to, as well as other children can make a connection with.
In a report, the Sesame Street writer stated: "I would love for her to be not 'Julia the kid on Sesame Street with Autism,' I would like her to be 'Just Julia'." A character set to sweep the nation and enter the homes of many families not only across the country, but the world and the hearts of many, is making leaps and bounds in her longtime coming role on Sesame Street.
I look forward to seeing how Sesame Street chooses to play this character out as well as a response from the Autism Community on their views of the character.