Why You Should Take a Moment to Meet Sesame Street's Newest Character

Sesame Street

The Muppet, named Julia, isn't new to the block.

Reaction to videos featuring Julia released on YouTube has been largely positive.

Speaking to 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl, Big Bird (played by Caroll Spinney, who never appears out of character lest it confuse the children), revealed that, at first, he wasn't sure if Julia liked him. Julia, a Muppet with autism, is a shy 4-year-old with red hair and curious green eyes. Julia made her debut in a digital storybook in 2015, as part of a larger Sesame campaign to connect with autistic children and their families, Erin Blakemore reported for Smithsonian.com that October.

The character of Big Bird talked to Stahl about his first interaction with Julia in which she ignored him. Julia is nervous to meet the big yellow star.

The job was awarded to puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who travelled 2,400 miles from Phoenix to New York City to audition for the role.

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"Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things".

"Julia is an wonderful little character", said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice preside of Sesame Workshop, according to APTN.

"Parents are very excited about it", says Colleen Allen, President and CEO of the Autism Alliance of MI.

According to Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder "refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences". They would have known that he plays in a different way and that's okay.

"It was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation they can meet (Julia) where she is", Ferraro said. There is an expression that goes, "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism'".

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Julia, the first muppet with autism. She has autism and, when speaking, she echoes her friend's words.

Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro introduced Julia to viewers of USA current affairs show 60 Minutes.

Show writer Christine Ferraro told CBS News: "The big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this?" But the inclusion of Julia on the live-action show is important-so much so that she's making headlines around the world.

"Sesame Street" has aired since 1969, and creator Joan Ganz Cooney says that a beer commercial helped answer the question whether television could teach children.

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