'Sesame Street' Introduces A New Muppet, Julia, On The Autism Spectrum


"Sesame Street" has added a new character to its long list of fictional friends, and she is on the autism spectrum.

The muppet, Julia, was introduced in conjunction with the show's new initiative, "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children."

About the program, part of a bigger project called Sesame Workshop, Senior VP of US Social Impact Dr. Jeanette Betancourt told PEOPLE,

By introducing Julia, the show hopes to aid in reducing the stigma associated with autism, the fastest growing developmental disability, according to the CDC.

The program also seeks to help educate viewers, both children and adults, on how to best communicate with children affected by autism.

Alongside the online platform is a free downloadable app featuring interactive story cards, intended to educate children with autism on how to go about daily routine tasks, like washing hands, going to a restaurant or crossing the street, with ease.

This initiative is evidence of the increasing awareness of autism and the push to better understand its diverse meaning.

There is hope the program, and others like it, will encourage communication and continue to build a more supportive community for those affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Betancourt told PEOPLE,

"Sesame Street" offers a range of resources on its page dedicated to the program including learning tools, tips for parents and stories told from the point of view of autistic children.

You can join in on the campaign via social media using the hashtag, #SeeAmazing.

Citations: Meet Sesame Street's First Character with Autism: 'We Want to Create Greater Awareness and Empathy' (PEOPLE), Sesame Street's new muppet, Julia, has autism (Autism Speaks), Sesame Street and Autism (Sesame Street)