Since 1969, Sesame Street has graced our screens engaging and teaching generations through play and humor. With iconic characters such as Big Bird and Elmo, a new one is set to join the ranks with new autistic Muppet Julia making her first live action performance premiering next month.
Whilst this is the first time Julia will appear on the small screen, she was introduced last year in digital form, and is part of a newly announced autism initiative, “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children,” by the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop.
It has taken five years and many consultations with over 250 organisations and experts within the autism community to have made this happen. Jeanette Betancourt, SVP of U.S Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, said that, “So many partners, advisors, and organizations have contributed to the success of this initiative, and we are thrilled to have the benefit of this collaboration as we launch this latest chapter.”
This chapter will include a variety of new resources coinciding, including ebooks, YouTube videos, and for the first time a free Sesame Street and Autism app available on the Amazon Appstore.
Sherrie Westin, EVP of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop says that, “Bringing Julia to life as a Sesame Street Muppet is the centrepiece of all our new materials to support families of children and autism. The response from the autism community to See Amazing in all our Children has been extraordinary, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote understanding and acceptance of autism, as part of our mission of helping all children grown smarter, stronger and kinder.”
It seems that Julia has already been breaking barriers even before her appearance with it reaching global news stations and national organisations. Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said that, “We’re really pleased to see a popular TV show like Sesame Street introducing an autistic character. This is a significant step in improving public understanding of autism, and making people in the autism spectrum feel more accepted.”
The character of Julia will be appearing in “Meet Julia” episode of Sesame Street premiering globally 10th April on HBO and PBS Kids. YouTube videos featuring Julia can be found here.