For the first time in 10 seasons, Sesame Street is introducing a new muppet to its recurring cast.
Julia is a 4-year-old girl with autism who originally debuted in a digital storybook as part of Sesame Workshops “See Amazing in All Children” initiative. In order to expand the show’s mission to help kids grow “smarter, stronger, and kinder,” Julia was brought on full-time to help reduce the stigma surrounding autism and teach children about diversity and tolerance.
“The challenge of creating a character with autism is that you do have to think about all the different kinds of autism that exist, that whole spectrum and pick a place. It’s like picking one person to represent a whole race,” says Brown Johnson, EVP and creative director of Sesame Workshop. “I do think that if you introduce ideas about kindness and acceptance early that kids will be much more aware of it and hopefully keep those messages in their lives.”