Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? We all know our old friends Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and Elmo. For the first time in 10 years, “Sesame Street” is introducing a new resident. Julia, a 4-year-old with bright orange hair, has autism.
The Muppets, created by Jim Hensen, began in 1969 with the start of the popular kid’s show “Sesame Street.” In 1976, The Muppets got their own show on “The Muppets Show,” where Kermit the Frog became the host with appearances from characters like our favorite diva, Miss Piggy.
Nearly 50 years later, “Sesame Street” still airs on PBS Kids and teaches kids educational lessons in a fun way. The addition of Julia requires the writers to present Julia in a way that young viewers can understand. Not only is this explaining autism to young kids, but also children and families affected by autism now have a character they can identify with.
According to CBS, writers of “Sesame Street” worked with autism organizations to decide which characteristics of autism they would incorporate because autism is different for every person. Julia is shy, often echoes what her fellow Muppets have said and is a talented artist. When she is upset she flaps her hands, a common trait of autism.
Julia is appearing in two episodes this season and future seasons. Her debut is April 10.
This is not the first time that Sesame Street has addressed disabilities. From 1971 to 2003, Linda Bove played a deaf librarian. Bove is deaf in real life, and brought awareness to American Sign Language.
“Sesame Street” continues to evolve and make their characters reflect society. Valley can’t wait to see Julia become part of the gang and teach children that it’s okay to be different.