Big bird says, “I thought that maybe she didn’t like me". That’s when Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so “sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things.” Julia also possesses other characteristics common in children with autism. She jumps up and down when she’s excited and gets overwhelmed by sounds and other stimuli. She also loves singing “and can remember all the words to a lot of songs".
According to a statement, Sesame Workshop met with over 250 autism organizations and experts over the last five years. Julia’s puppeteer, Stacy Gordon, has a son with autism.
“Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviors through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened,” Gordon said. “They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that’s OK.”
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The key was to depict a character that has autism, but isn’t defined by the stereotypes the media often portrays (think
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