Meet Julia, Sesame Street's first character with autism

Elmo and Abby go on a playdate with their new friend, Julia. But Julia has to explain why she plays a bit differently than they do.

Meet Julia, Sesame Street's first character with autism

Photo: Marybeth Nelson

Alright, Sesame Street fans, there's a new muppet you have to meet. Julia!

In a new Sesame Street story, Elmo and Abby have a playdate with their friend, Julia, who has autism. While the trio have lots of fun together, Julia has to explain why she likes to play a little bit differently than they do.

"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," says Sherry Westin from Sesame Workshop. "We want to create greater awareness and empathy."

The story is written by Leslie Kimmelman, whose son was diagnosed with autism 20 years ago. She hopes this new book will help parents see how all kids are unique and amazing.

The story, along with the free app, are a great resource for families of children with autism. Created for kids ages two to five, the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children aims to make daily tasks like brushing teeth and crossing the street, easier and less stressful for autistic kids and their parents. Find out more about this amazing initiative here!

There is no word yet if Julia will be appearing on TV (we hope she will), but you can download her first storybook for free and delight in a fun playdate with your Sesame Street friends.

Update: After first appearing in print and digital platforms for several months, Julia will soon make her daytime television debut. Her first episode on Sesame Street airs on April 10 on PBS and HBO stations.

This article was originally published on Oct 22, 2015

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