On April 10th, Sesame Street will introduce the newest Muppet on the block: Julia. What’s the big deal about this news? She’s a 4-year-old with autism.
Abby Cadabby describes her as doing “…things just a little differently, in a Julia sort of way.”
We were first introduced to Julia in 2015 when Sesame Street launched the See Amazing initiative.
See Amazing (www.SesameStreet.org/Autism) provides resources to families, teachers and caregivers around the country to educate them about autism, and tools to help families touched by autism with everyday activities. It includes guides to simplify activities and overcome common challenges such as washing hands, brushing teeth, going to the supermarket, and bedtime routines.
Norrin hasn’t watched Sesame Street on television in years. Still a fan of the characters, Norrin watches Sesame Street clips on YouTube all the time — his favorite is where Ernie has a banana in his ear.
Why Julia Matters To All Kids, not just kids with Special Needs
As a Latina, growing up in the early 80s – I didn’t see myself in any of characters of my favorite TV shows, movies or books. No one looked like me. It wasn’t until I got older that I felt this void.
Diversity and representation in main stream media and literature makes a difference. And we need more of it.
In the last few years, I’ve seen more and more characters with autism in TV and in the movies. While some of is met with criticism on how autism is represented – I’m satisfied autism is making its way into the story line.
Sesame Street introducing autism to its young viewers is exciting.
It’s been my experience that most parents of “typical” kids don’t explain autism or any other kind of disability unless necessary. Sometimes it’s never necessary. I think Julia will be a conversation starter for so many families – not just ones like mine.
Julia will teach “typical” kids that it’s OK to be different. When that kid sees mine in the playground – they won’t stare or laugh when Norrin flaps his hands, they’ll think “he’s like Julia.”
I can’t wait for Norrin to meet Julia. She flaps her hands (just he does when he’s happy, excited or nervous) and covers her ears when things get too loud. And I hope it will be the start of a much needed conversation – explaining to Norrin that he’s autistic.I hope kids will be able to see themselves in Julia & feel good. #SeeAmazing #autism Click To Tweet
“Meet Julia,” airs Monday, April 10 on HBO and our DVR is set!