Meet Julia, the New Kid on 'Sesame Street'

Sesame Street is introducing a new Muppet to its cast, and she is unlike any Muppet they have had before. Her name is Julia, and she has autism. The character was introduced online in 2015, but will now become a regular on the television show. Rachel Rosner, the director of education and support services at Rochester-based Autism Up, said introducing a character with autism is a huge step forward for the show — and for raising awareness. “As a parent of two kids with autism, I’m thrilled that there’s finally a character with autism on Sesame Street,” Rosner said.

See Amazing in All Children

In the U.S., 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That makes autism more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. In fact, almost every school and university in the country has students with autism. While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not. The lack of understanding around the condition contributes to discrimination, verbal abuse, even physical violence.