Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, and Ernie now have a new neighbor on Sesame Street, Julia!
On April 10th, the Sesame Street crew welcomed 4-year- old Julia to the neighborhood and quickly learned that Julia has autism spectrum disorder. They found out that she is just a little different and just needs a little more time to figure things out and that’s okay!
Anyone who has watched Sesame Street over the years knows that each iconic character has a different lesson to learn from throughout every episode. Big Bird’s relatable personality is famous for teaching kids about hardships in life and how to deal with them. Elmo tells us all that we should explore new things, and that its ok to make mistakes sometimes. Bert and Ernie show us how to deal with friendships in our lives. There are many more characters that have a great way of teaching our youth.
So, what is Julia here to teach us?
Julia is supposed to show us that we are all unique in our own way. She may have autism, which causes her to communicate differently, but that does not stop the Sesame Street characters from finding a way that everyone can play and enjoy life together while still feeling comfortable. They understand that Julia does things a little differently and takes a little longer to respond. Despite her disabilities the characters relish in the fact that she also has unique strengths, like her amazing singing skills.
The show will address the stigma of those with autism and Julia will help the viewers become more aware of the disorder. They hope to create an open-minded disposition towards children with autism. The creators stressed that it was important that the new character was a girl because males are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than females are. They wanted to show that females can have autism, too.
With the numbers of autism rates rising the writers of Sesame Street thought that this would be a great new character that will help current and future generations understand autism a little better.
We hope that Julia will make an impact on how people understand and interact with those that have autism. Just as Elmo influenced the children of the 90’s, we hope that Julia can truly shine and make a difference towards a greater cause, and bring a new appreciation for the beautiful, diverse populations of individuals with autism.
Did your children have a positive response to Julia? Let us know in the comments!