For fans of “Sesame Street,” are you familiar with the character Julia?
The 4-year-old Muppet is known for being the first Sesame Street character with autism, and her character aims to promote early screening for autism.
A piece in Smithsonian magazine describes Julia’s introduction:
Julia made her on-air debut this past April, during Autism Awareness Month. Sesame’s brilliant ten-minute episode starts with Abby Cadabby, Elmo and Julia gathered at a table to paint, as Alan, who runs Hooper’s store, hands them art supplies. Big Bird sidles up, and says hi to Julia, who is deeply involved in her painting and doesn’t respond. Big Bird’s confused. Alan explains that she’s “just concentrating on her painting right now.” More entreaties follow, but there is no response. When Alan asks to see it, she holds up her painting, which is vivid and precise.
“Julia, you’re so creative!” Abby says. The episode skips along from there, as Alan soon explains to Big Bird that Julia “has autism, and she likes it when people know that.”
“Autism. What’s autism?”
“Well, for Julia, it means that she might not answer you right away...and she may not do what you expect. Yea, she does things just a little differently, in a Julia sort of way.”
This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.