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New Sesame Street character helps families understand autism

And now the children's TV show Sesame Street is introducing a new muppet character with a simpler name, and a tougher brief.

"I think that they have just done a wonderful job of making sure that Julia's behaviors, her words, the way she interacts with others are explained on the show in a very distinct, simple way that makes sense to preschoolers, and then they move on with the story". Children with autism will also now have a Muppet that they can better identify with.

Although Julia has already been added in digital and printed storybooks, the show's creators hope the new character will help children better understand playmates who have autism.

Julia was first introduced in 2015, playing alongside Elmo and Abby Cadabby, as part of an online-only Digital Storybook story called Sesame Street and Autism: See the awesome in All Children. Julia, who "does things a little differently", according to the workshop, is part of the campaign focused on reducing the stigma of autism.

Rosner said that while Julia is a welcome addition, it's the way the show will be treating her character that is most important.

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Gordon has a son with autism, and was once a therapist to youngsters on the spectrum.

"We heard a call to use our expertise and characters to build a bridge between the autism and neurotypical communities", Betancourt said. "They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that's OK".

"Had my son's friends been exposed to his behaviours through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened", she told 60 Minutes.

The muppets and children but received Julia with open arms.

Amy Cooper is the type of journalist that when asked "What do you bring to the table", she replies "I am the table". "There's a saying that if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism".

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