‘Sesame Street’ debuts Julia, its first character with autism

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Image courtesy of MaryBeth Nelson/Sesame Street Workshop

Image courtesy of MaryBeth Nelson/Sesame Street Workshop

Joining Abby Cadabby and Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Julia, a green-eyed, orange-haired character with autism.

The Sesame Workshop debuted its new character Wednesday as part of an initiative designed to reduce the stigma surrounding autism. “The initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in all Children,” provides educational tools in online and printed story books and as a free downloadable app that feature “Sesame Street” characters explaining to children how to interact with friends, like Julia, who have the neurodevelopmental disorder.

In an online story book, Elmo tells Abby that Julia “does things a little differently” when all three are at a playground.

“Sometimes Elmo talks to Julia using fewer words and says the same thing a few times,” Elmo says in the book.

The initiative also includes routine cards and other resources aimed at parents, teachers and others on how best to handle everyday activities with children touched by the disorder, such as brushing teeth, crossing the street and going to the store.

Video by Sesame Street in Communities

As the NewsHour reported Wednesday, one in every 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism.

“Sesame Street” is using the #SeeAmazing hashtag on social media to promote awareness about the initiative.

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