The way around it was describing autism not as a blanket condition, but through the lens of what it means for Julia individually. “She’s like a little budding artist”.
“Julia is an awesome little character”, said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice preside of Sesame Workshop, according to APTN. While the CDC says autism diagnoses have risen in recent years (1 in every 68 children), it is a hard subject to breach on television.
“She’s one of the kids, she’s one of the gang”, Rose Jochum, director of Internal Initiatives at the Autism Society of America, said to NPR. Speaking to the U.S. news programme 60 Minutes she explained: “Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion…and like her…[is] huge”.
A new face is coming to a familiar show so many of us grew up watching.
Reaction to videos featuring Julia released on YouTube has been largely positive.
In addition to its traditional home on PBS, Julia will also be seen on HBO. “#SeeAmazing”, the show tweeted.
Constructing a new Sesame Street character with autism presented a few challenges.
Allen says some children with autism can find it hard to make friends, and need other children to learn to better understand how they function.
Emotionally, however, the puppeteer behind Julia has felt like she has been preparing for the role for years. Gordon told 60 Minutes that she even channeled her son’s experiences for a tough scene where Julia’s heightened sensitivity to noise triggers a meltdown when she hears sirens.
But now Julia has been brought to life in fine Muppet fettle. And rounding out the digital content, the free Sesame Street and Autism app will be accessible on the Amazon App store for the first time. “They would have known that he plays in a different way, and that that’s okay”. Soon, all is well and play resumes.
Both of them go to a playground, where Elmo introduces Julia to his other friend Abby.
The storyline will reportedly be similar to the storybook – when Julia arrives, she’s introduced by Elmo and Abby Cadabby. “She is not as verbal, but she expresses herself in different ways”.
“There’s so many people that have given her what she is”, Gordon said”.