"Sesame Street," the classic kids' show that debuted in the late 1960s, is about to get a whole lot more inclusive. In just a matter of days, the program will welcome a new Muppet on Sesame Street.
The character's name is Julia, and she has autism spectrum disorder. She's due to appear first on "60 Minutes."
Julia's 4, she has red hair and green eyes, and she enjoys painting and picking flowers, NPR reports. She's friends with Abby and Elmo — she frequently repeats what they say — and she's played by puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who has an autistic son.
"Man, I really wish that kids in my son's class had grown up with a 'Sesame Street' that had modeling [of] the behavior of inclusion of characters with autism," Gordon said to NPR.
The character came about to coincide with Sesame's campaign "See Amazing in All Children," which works to break down barriers and stigma associated with children who have autism spectrum disorder.
This is the first Muppet to join the show in 10 years. She will make an appearance in two episodes this season, beginning April 10, and even more in the upcoming season.
"The character Julia, she has wonderful drawing skills," said Rose Jochum, director of Internal Initiatives at the Autism Society of America, to NPR. "She's like a little budding artist. You know — autism — it brings wonderful gifts."
""There's so many people that have given her what she is," Gordon said. "I'm just hoping to bring her the heart."
Sounds like Julia already has a big one.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton