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Sesame Street's Newest Resident Is Julia, a Muppet on the Autism Spectrum

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*Editors Note: The video version incorrectly spells the puppeteer’s name as ‘Stacy Gordon,’ and is corrected in the transcript as ‘Stacey Gordon.’

For the first time in a decade, Sesame Street is adding a new muppet to the block: Julia, a young muppet on the autism spectrum.

Read the full version of Sesame Street’s Newest Resident Is Julia, a Muppet on the Autism Spectrum.

Read the full transcript:

For the First Time in a Decade, Sesame Street Is Adding a New Muppet to the Block.

Meet Julia, a young muppet on the autism spectrum.

“For years, families of children with autism have asked us to address the issue.” – Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop

“So many partners, advisors, and organizations have contributed to the success of this initiative.”

In 2015, Sesame Workshop launched Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.

This online initiative introduced Julia as a digital character in a storybook called “We’re Amazing, 1,2,3.”

Sesame Workshop has spent five years consulting with 250 organizations and experts within the autism community.

Julia will be played by Stacey Gordon, a puppeteer whose son is on the autism spectrum.

“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.” -Stacey Gordon, NPR interview

Julia will make her debut April 10 on PBS Kids and HBO.

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New Power Rangers Movie Features a Power Ranger With Autism

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The big screen is about to get more inclusive, thanks to the new Power Rangers reboot. On Tuesday, it was announced that Billy the Blue Ranger is on the autism spectrum.

“I just wanted to show a different, like, viewpoint of people that are seen as being on the spectrum, right? Or people diagnosed with autism, ’cause it’s like I feel like us being outsiders looking in and I take that, I cast my own stone when I say that, ’cause there’s a lot that I didn’t know before,” RJ Cyler, the neurotypical actor playing Billy, said in an interview with ScreenRant.

In preparing for the role, Cyler told ScreenRant he spoke with people on the autism spectrum:

I actually sat down and shut my mouth and actually just listened and you know, accepted every bit of information with no judgment … I knew that it was my job to show, you know, that people that are on the spectrum are just regular people, literally, just how we talk, how me and Becky [who plays the Yellow Ranger] talk, they feel the same way, they have the same emotions, they wanna be loved, that want people to love, they want relationships they want, you know, connections, and it’s just like I was really excited to be able to play that ’cause I know it means so much to so many people.

Power Rangers is the latest franchise to introduce a character with autism. Earlier this week, Sesame Street announced it’s adding a new muppet, Julia, who will be on the autism spectrum. Popular video game Overwatch also shared that its character Symmetra is on the spectrum as well.

Power Rangers hits theaters March 24.

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Why I Will Be Watching 'Sesame Street' as an Adult

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“Sesame Street” has a new character, a 4-year-old named Julia. Not only does this adorable new personality have bright orange hair and enthusiasm for life, she also has Autism. This is something many of us having been waiting for.

When I heard about this, I immediately searched for every video and article I could find to learn more about this new character and the show’s push for inclusion and acceptance. This show has been a wonderful platform to teach life lessons to children and “Sesame Street” has done it again.

Julia is Elmo’s friend, a bright character who is immediately accepted into the “Sesame Street” family. While Julia gets along well with the other characters, she does things a little differently at times. She covers her ears when loud noises overwhelm her, flaps her arms when she is excited, and sometimes avoids eye contact with others. I especially love how real the show is making this character. They are not trying to cover anything or pretend she doesn’t have a disability — instead they embrace everything that makes Julia unique. There have been times when I’ve watched people in the community seem uncomfortable, unaware of how to interact with someone with a disability. This is when we often see people with disabilities treated like tragic heroes or victims. In “Sesame Street” everyone simply embraces Julia. They acknowledge and accept her differences, and are quick to explain that while Julia does have autism, it simply makes her “just Julia.”

I am 20 years old and you can bet I will be watching “Sesame Street.” I am eager to see what situations and experiences Julia will have on the show, and how other autistic traits might be portrayed. This is a huge step for the already inclusive cast of “Sesame Street” and I can’t thank them enough. I am eager to see upcoming episode and watch this new story-line unfold. To those inside the disability community, I know some of us are doing our own little happy dance right now.

For those who do not have a child with a disability, please use this as a tool to teach your children about autism and other disabilities. Teach them these individuals do have differences, just like everyone else has something that makes them unique. Teach them not to be afraid of the child with autism in their classroom, but instead be a friend and peer advocate. Children are curious, let them be curious. Show them it is not only okay to reach out to a child with disabilities, but encouraged. And adults — nobody is too old to watch “Sesame Street.”

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Photo by: “Sesame Street” Facebook page

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