Sesame Street has a new neighbor, Julia. Julia has been a part of the childhood online digital storybook series since 2015. The red head along with her favorite bunny will make their TV debut with the rest of the cast this April on HBO and PBS.
The creators of the show bring on the new character in hope to help children get a better understanding of playmates who have autism, which is affecting many American kids. Julia’s character brings on a Muppet kids with autism can identify with.
In Julia’s first episode, Big Bird learns that she interacts differently, later learning she has autism.
The designers of Julia’s character were excited to bring on her character to express the issues many children with autism deal with, without her being a standard model for kids with the disorder. Since each child with the disorder is not the same, depicting Julia’s character was tricky.
The first episode shows Julia’s interaction with others but also exhibits her sensitivity to loud noises and emotions during a game.
The puppeteer for Julia’s character, Stacey Gordon has a son who is autistic. She expressed how she wished a character like Julia was around when her son was younger.