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Sesame Street Gets Its First Muppet Friend With Autism

Sesame Street is adding Julia, a Muppet character with autism, to its cast.

In partnership with 'Autism: See Amazing in All Children', Sesame Street aims to reduce "the stigma of autism" with the introduction of the character.

Julia will be included in digital and printed story books featuring characters including Elmo and Abby and portrayed as a girl who "does things a little differently."

"Families with autistic children tend to gravitate toward digital content, which is why we created Julia digitally," executive vice president of global impacts and philanthropy, Sherrie Westin, tells People. "We want parents and children to understand that autism isn't an uncomfortable topic."

"If you're five years old, and see another kid not making eye contact with you, you may think that child doesn't want to play with you. But that's not the case. We want to create greater awareness and empathy."

"Some people don't even know whether they're even supposed to say the word autistic."

"By opening up a dialogue we are trying to get rid of any discomfort or awkwardness, it's time to increase understanding."

"We are trying to spread the story about the theory behind this whole thing love and acceptance. Everyone is touched by autism, and by creating Julia, Sesame is bringing children together."

October 22, 2015 |

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