There’s a new muppet on the block, and 123 Sesame Street has never seen anyone quite like her.
Since it first aired in 1969, Sesame Street has played an invaluable role in educating children from different socioeconomic backgrounds and walks of life. Between learning the ABCs and adapting a sense of empathy, the children’s show has taught its viewers a countless number of important lessons through the years.
Sesame Street’s newest addition, a muppet named Julia, will expose its viewers to the autism spectrum. In its nearly 50 years on air, the series has never introduced an autistic character, but judging by the excitement surrounding Julia’s arrival, she likely won’t be the last.
In a special 60 Minutes segment, series writer Christine Ferraro revealed the challenges behind depicting autism onscreen. "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.’”
The show’s aim is simple: to familiarize and de-stigmatize the effects of autism. Ferraro explained it perfectly in regard to the new cast member: “I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism. I would like her to be just Julia.”