'Sesame Street' introduces first character with autism on '60 Minutes'

Its much-loved muppets Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch have been charming viewers for nearly 50 years. In keeping with this wonderful tradition, Sesame Street is set to introduce a new character that is unlike any the show has had in it's 48-year history.

Julia will have her small screen debut on Sesame Street in an episode called "Meet Julia", which will have a joint premiere on HBO and PBS Kids on April 10.

Christine Ferraro and the rest of the Sesame Street crew would like to see Julia as a regular character in order to further the normalization of autism.

The character is part of the show's initiative to raise awareness and understanding of the condition, titled Sesame Street and autism: See awesome in all children. At first the giant yellow bird thinks "maybe she didn't like me", but the other puppets reassure him that Julia "does things just a little differently". He's sad and anxious that Julia doesn't like him, but Elmo explains that Julia has autism so she "does things a little differently". Because of this, Sesame Street producers had quite a challenge ahead of them in creating Julia. "Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion.it's huge", she told "60 Minutes".

"You have everything from a child like mine who cannot speak and goes to a school with autism, all the way up to people who can speak who are very smart". "I wished that it had come out years before, when my own child was at the Sesame Street age", she told 60 Minutes.

Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, has a son with autism.

Julia's first appearance on "Sesame Street" involves a pivotal encounter with Big Bird.

"And she has autism", the website adds. Betancourt said one in 68 children in the USA had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He couldn't make heads or tails of her expressions, and she seemed nervous to meet him.

Adding Julia "means that our kids are important enough to be seen in society", Gordon tells Stahl. They might not have been anxious when he cried.

"In the US, one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder", said Betancourt. And then it turns into a game where they're all jumping like her. In fact, they welcome her with open arms.

"Sesame Street" has aired since 1969, and creator Joan Ganz Cooney says that a beer commercial helped answer the question whether television could teach children.

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