Mup­pet with autism in bid to beat stigma

TV: Ju­lia set to be new kids’ favourite

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS AND OPINION - BY DAVID MERCER

Chil­dren’s show Sesame Street is to in­tro­duce a new char­ac­ter with autism.

Ju­lia, a young Mup­pet with red hair and bright green eyes, will aim to “re­duce the stigma” at­tached to the con­di­tion, pro­gramme bosses said.

The char­ac­ter al­ready ex­ists in print and dig­i­tal sto­ry­books as part of an ini­tia­tive called Sesame Street and Autism: See Amaz­ing in all Chil­dren.

Jeanette Be­tan­court, Sesame Work­shop’s se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of US so­cial im­pact, said: “In the US, one in 68 chil­dren is di­ag­nosed with autism spec­trum dis­or­der.

“We wanted to pro­mote a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing and re­duce the stigma of­ten found around th­ese chil­dren.

“Just as we look at all chil­dren as be­ing unique, we should do the same thing when we’re look­ing at chil­dren with autism,” added Ms Be­tan­court.

Sesame Street has been on the air since 1969 and fea­tures a host of fa­mous char­ac­ters in­clud­ing Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo and Cookie Mon­ster.

Ju­lia will be first seen on Sesame Street on an episode to be aired in the US on April 10.

CHAR­AC­TER: Ju­lia is a re­sponse to the high preva­lence of autism in so­ci­ety

Big Bird is among the cast of fa­mous char­ac­ters ready to wel­come Ju­lia

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