Julia made Sesame Street history when she joined the cast of lovable characters as a permanent resident in 2017. Julia has autism, and her character was created as part of the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative. Since her arrival on the famous street, children with autism are able to see someone who’s like them on a regular basis. That representation is so important.
The latest statistics from the CDC show that 1 in 59 children have autism, though other reports estimate the incidence could be as many as 1 in 40.
In April of 2019, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, Sesame Street showed viewers Julia’s family for the first time, and expanded her role on the show.
While autism families may face unique situations and challenges, all families have things in common. By introducing Julia’s family, Sesame Street aims to highlight those common connections as well as point out that the differences between us help us learn from one another.
Julia’s mom, Elena, is an art teacher, and her dad, Daniel, is a professional saxophonist. She also has a protective older brother, Sam, and a companion dog, Rose, who is not only adorable, but a big help to Julia.
Julia’s brother, Sam, told GMA, “It may take a few tries to get to know Julia. But just because she doesn’t respond, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be friends.”
On April 8th, Sesame Street will air an episode that focuses on Julia getting a haircut. This can be a challenging and uncomfortable experience for many kids on the spectrum who have sensory sensitivities. In the segment, Julia’s friends Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Alan play “hair salon” with Julia and pretend to cut her hair while having lots of fun, in order to help her feel less scared about her upcoming haircut.
In addition to Julia’s expanded role and backstory, Sesame Workshop has increased its resources for autism families. They have helpful videos for kids and parents, interactive games, online storybooks, in-depth informational resources, and more. Check it out here.
When interviewed on Good Morning America, Elmo said: “Julia has autism, that makes Julia different … But it’s really cool that everybody’s a little bit different but same, too. And Elmo and Julia have a lot in common, and we have a lot of fun together.”
We think it’s cool, too, Elmo!
In the video below, you’ll get to meet Julia’s family and watch them sing a song together, called “I Love My Family.”
Take a look!Whizzco