While there is some progress on Sesame Street, Perry says more education is needed on main street. As the show's furry crew welcomes Julia with open arms, its young audience will have the chance to learn about autism and the importance of accepting difference. "It's tricky because autism is not one thing because it is different for every single person who has autism." she said. She was the show's first lead female muppet. Sesame Workshop is a not-for-profit media company and an educational outfit that conducts its own research. She is invited to play a game with fellow muppets Oscar, Abby and Grover, where they must point out different shapes.
Parents of children with autism told officials at Sesame how important the show was for their kids.
One in 68 American children is now diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of some 119 percent since 2000.
Julia started past year as a character in Sesame's books and digital offerings. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the stigma of autism. Julia's puppet artist Stacey Gordon is also the mother of an autistic child.
"We realized if we brought her to life appearing in Sesame Street on air as well, she would have even more impact [and] be able to reach even more children", Westin told NPR. And she has autism. "There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism'".
The episode introducing Julia includes some common scenarios.
He said that people often forget that autism is a spectrum. In recent years, its lengthy roster of characters has grown accordingly, from the introduction of "girly-girl" Abby Cadabby in 2006 to Segi, an African-American girl with natural hair, in 2010. About 1 in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is so special for me to be Julia, it's going to be huge for the autism community".
But she has been brought to life in Muppet-form, and will appear in the American institution's 47 season in a special Meet Julia episode airing in the United States on April 10.
"There are moments in the show where Julia gets overwhelmed by a loud sound and gets bumped when she's not expecting it and she has a panic attack and covers her ears and cries".
Julia will make three appearances during the current season of Sesame Street and her role will expand as the show continues.