Sesame Street debuts its first autistic character

Music 21/03/2017

Sesame Street's household of Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch have been captivating viewers for almost 50 years, but now they've got a new addition.

The children's TV show is introducing a new muppet character which has orange hair, a toy rabbit - and autism. Julia is the show's first autistic character and will make her TV debut in April in the US.

The show's producers toldCBS Newsthey struggled over how to talk about autism to a young audience, because it's different for every person.

Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro said that in her first episode, Julia will demonstrate some common characteristics associated with autism, such as ignoring Big Bird when they're first introduced.

"Confused, Big Bird thinks, 'Maybe she didn't like me'. But the other muppets tell him, 'She does things just a little differently'," she told CBS News.

Julia will also get overexcited in play and react by jumping up and down. Instead of making fun of her, the other Sesame Street characters will join in.

The show's writers say they hope she will stop being known as "Julia with autism", and be "known just as Julia".