New autistic muppet ‘Julia’ brings diversity to Sesame Street

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DENVER -- Sesame Street hit the airwaves of American TV in 1969.  Built on a dream of using television to educate children, the show is still on the air over four decades later.

“I watched Sesame Street when I was little, and I loved it, absolutely loved it,” said Dr. Anna Ropp, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  She says the show influenced her as a little girl.

Since the show’s inception, education and entertainment has been Sesame Street’s protocol.  From learning to count from a Count, to issues of children in wheelchairs.

The newest member of the cast is Julia.  Julia is a muppet, and has autism, according to the show's producers.

“I think a character who has autism and the other characters in the story learning how to play with her.  I think that’s a great way to model behavior.” Said Dr. Ropp

The first look at Julia comes from a new section on Sesame Street’s website that’s designed for children with autism.  Right now, Julia is exclusively in the show’s online resources, but could eventually make an appearance on the television show as well.

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