Sesame Street. The beloved show from our childhood just became the beloved show of our adulthood with the latest addition to their show.
Wednesday morning they announced their newest character, Julia, would be a muppet with autism.
The addition came as part of a new initiative called Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children and is meant for communities with children from ages 2 to 5.
“Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities,” the website’s description states. “At the same time, the project fosters an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids.”
The senior vice president of U.S. social impact at the Sesame Workshop, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt said, “Children with autism are five times more likely to get bullied, and with one in 68 children having autism, that’s a lot of bullying. Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group.”
The character, Julia, is being introduced as a “long time” friend of Elmo’s. Julia’s character’s purpose is to teach kids all over the world about autism and how just because they interact differently doesn’t mean we love them any differen. The storyline is going to show all the things that Elmo and Julia have in common and normalize their differences as well.
“If you’re five years old, and see another kid not making eye contact with you, you may think that child doesn’t want to play with you. But that’s not the case,” Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impacts and philanthropy, told People. “We want to create greater awareness and empathy.”
Westin also said the character was created digitally because families with autistic children tend to gravitate towards digital learning and development tools.
The “See Amazing in All Children” initiative has been in the works for three years! “We are trying to spread the story about the theory behind this whole thing – love and acceptance,” Dr. Betencourt said. “Everyone is touched by autism, and by creating Julia,Sesame is bringing children together.”
There’s no confirmed start date for Julia to enter the show but we know that whenever it is, it’ll be awesome. Sesame Street continues to make awesome memories for families everywhere!