'Sesame Street' introduces Muppet with autism

  • 'Sesame Street' introduces Muppet with autism

'Sesame Street' introduces Muppet with autism

In this scene being taped for airing next season, these Muppet chums have been challenged to spot objects shaped like squares or circles or triangles.

Abby tells Grover, "You're lucky".

And now they have taken it one step further, introducing their first autistic character, Julia.

With that, they skedaddle, an exit that calls for the six Muppeteers squatted out of sight below them to scramble accordingly.

The puppeteer for Julia is Stacey Gordon, the mother of a son with autism.

The adorable redhead will first show up on the long-running series alongside Elmo and Abby Cadabby - with whom she first appeared in an online-only digital storybook in 2015 called Sesame Street and Autism: See the fantastic in All Children - as they introduce her to Big Bird, as revealed Sunday on 60 Minutes. Krewson thought through every detail of Julia's muppet. "How do we talk about autism?,'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl.

Diagnoses of autism have risen steadily in recent years to the rate of one in every 68 USA children, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Since it is a spectrum disorder, Goring says, no two cases of autism look exactly the same.

The Sesame Street campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with Autism as well as introduce a better understanding of the condition.

Julia is at the heart of this effort. She also loves to play with her favorite stuffed animal.

Julia is a great singer and can remember all the words to many songs. Rather than make fun of her or be scared by her unusual reaction, the kids make it part of the game.

"She's one of the kids, she's one of the gang", said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which helped Sesame Street develop the new muppet, on NPR. She traveled from Phoenix to audition. Alongside Julia's online appearance the company slowly introduced her into story books for children as well. He thinks she doesn't like him. But the other muppets tell him: "She does things just a little differently". And even then, every kid is different. Soon, all is well and play resumes.

At Sesame Workshop, executive vice president Sherrie Westin says careful consideration went into the creation of this new character.

For many years, people with autism (or other similar cases) haven't been represented in mainstream television shows or movies in a positive light. The HBO series, which built its reputation as a staple of public broadcasting's PBS, has covered the entirety of social situations and healthy living for children since 1969.