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Sesame Street Will Introduce Julia, an Autistic Muppet

Sesame Street Will Introduce Julia, an Autistic Muppet

“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on “Sesame Street” who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FeuSdL61MY

Well-loved educational children’s show Sesame Street will soon introduce a new character.

Julia will join the Sesame Street crew as the show’s first autistic muppet. While the distinction is noteworthy and needed, the show’s writers hope Julia will be a seamless part of the cast.

“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on “Sesame Street” who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia,” said Christine Ferraro.

Because autism is a spectrum and not one specific set of traits or challenges, Julia’s character required and will require extensive thought and consideration. “It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism. There is an expression that goes, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” explained Ferraro.

From USA Today:

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced in 2015 that Julia would join Elmo and the gang in books and an app as part of the “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” campaign. Julia, who “does things a little differently,” according to the workshop, is part of the campaign focused on reducing the stigma of autism.

And while the show may make it look like Julia’s character effortlessly came together, it took years of consulting with organizations and experts in the autism community to develop her character, and the campaign, Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact, told AP.

“In the U.S., one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder,” Betancourt said in the interview. “We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children. We’re modeling the way both children and adults can look at autism from a strength-based perspective: finding things that all children share.”

Destigmatizing autism is a worthy cause and a welcome addition to Sesame Street.

Julia has been featured in various other Sesame Street media forms but will make her TV debut in April. No confirmation on an exact date just yet, though.

Friend Abby and Julia, sing “Sunny Days”, Julia’s favorite song:

Sesame Street‘s home is now HBO, but it still airs on PBS as well.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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Comments

“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on “Sesame Street” who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia.”

Then what is the point?

Done well, Julia could be a good example for other kids. Which I thought was the point (teaching kids to be inclusive and all that).

Done as I expect they will Julia will be a horrible.

I don’t let my son watch Sesame Street.

casualobserver | March 20, 2017 at 2:10 pm

This is a good idea to me. The idea to show how someone who appears “different” in behavior is and should still be a member of the group (of friends) is a good lesson. It seems obvious to me that you represent her traits accurately but downplay the label Julia who has autism. She eventually becomes Julia. Julia who is different but still a part of the group.

That is the point to me.

conservative tarheel | March 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm

love the name … the Obama charter Julia ….

Autism is not an all or nothing thing. I assume they will portray the character as loveable.

Ridiculous. But typical.

“I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on “Sesame Street” who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia.”

So … first call attention to something which juveniles left to themselves would never notice, but which puts lil’ Julia in a separate “special” category (which she will hopefully remember when she reaches voting age, so that the Party can pander for her votes by distributing free stuff, and by pushing social engineering policies favoring privileged treatment—maybe even cram her onto the Affirmative Action gravy train).

Then … go the “virtue signaling” route by claiming that it doesn’t matter, she’s just like everyone else. Really. No matter what we said earlier.

Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. At least not if Sesame Street is intended to teach letters, and numbers, and logical reasoning.

The parallels with Chief Justice Roberts’ aphorism are obvious—”The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” So don’t claim that Julia is “special” and then claim that it’s not important. One or the other—make a choice and stick with it.

If they want to get into teaching the details of autism, leave it for a course in grad school and do it right.

Stacey’s a personal friend of mine. Her son is a sweetheart. If she has the right amount of input this will be done well

So when are they introducing the ignorant/arrogant ‘snowflake leftist’ living in their parents’ basement?

Defund PBS. Let the private sector be the judge of Sesame Street.

In other news, Sesame Street will also be rolling out new Muppets with bipolar disorder, ventilatir-dependent asthma, flesh-eating bacteria, homicidal psychosis, and severe skin rashes. And stay tuned for left-handedness and people with two left feet!

@RedEchos, the point, simply put (for your convenience) is that people don’t walk around with labels or diagnoses illuminated above their heads. The article says that 1 in 68 are diagnosed with spectrum disorders (that means autism, fyi) and I promise you those walking around undiagnosed are in far greater numbers. Spectrum disorders go undetected all the time, as they can appear very subtle and those on the spectrum learn to mimic the behaviors of “neurotypical” individuals quite well. So well that they can live a lifetime without detection. This, however, doesn’t mean that these individuals don’t suffer in their silence. They often don’t know why they feel different, in fact. Just that they do, which often manifests in co-occurring mental health issues that become, in some cases, more intrusive than the original spectrum disorder.

In short, I promise you that you know someone on the spectrum who hasn’t been diagnosed.

Also, way to, in the same post, both advocate for inclusion while practicing exclusion…”I don’t let my son watch Sesame Street”. Nice insight.

(Post referenced: “I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on “Sesame Street” who has autism, I would like her to just be Julia.”

Then what is the point?

Done well, Julia could be a good example for other kids. Which I thought was the point (teaching kids to be inclusive and all that).

Done as I expect they will Julia will be a horrible.

I don’t let my son watch Sesame Street.)

Also, in perusing some of these comments, I feel obligated to point out that, as usual, many of you have missed the point, entirely. And there seems to be a lot of intimidation and fear about mental health in the words of many of you. In case you were wondering (though I’m sure you weren’t) I guarantee that each of you meet criteria for at least 1 “disorder” as described in the DSM. The irony is that likely a few of you are on the spectrum. Be nice, people. Disagree all you like, just do so with some grace, respect, and intelligence. Goodness.

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