All About Julia, the First Muppet with Autism
Children everywhere love television. Cartoons and cute shows like Sesame Street are filled with fun sing-a-longs, colorful toys, and adorable skits. These beloved characters are frequent role models and help kids understand the subtle nuances of society. How they present themselves has a huge impact on how children will behave and interact with the world around them.
Characters on TV often serve as role models
It’s so common to see young kids imitate their role models too. There’s a reason why merchandise and toy companies spend so much money recreating beloved TV characters or Disney movies. Kids love them!
They even tend to copy what these characters do on their favorite shows. Euphemisms, expressions, and behaviors are all fair game for kids to play copycat with. This can be adorable but can also be dangerous too. It’s important that these characters in media today represent themselves well for the future of our society.
Sesame Street has been positively influencing children for decades
Sesame Street is a beloved TV program that is geared for children. It’s been around for decades and is famous across generations, even before color television! Some people still remember watching this beloved program on a black-and-white TV while growing up.
Sesame Street teaches kids many lessons about life
The laughs and lessons from this show tend to stick with kids from all over the world. It’s been shown in research that the program actually teaches children the same amount as preschool education. The study showed that its especially helpful for keeping kids in their appropriate grade level for their age, especially those coming from disadvantaged situations.
Julia helps advocate for autism awareness
In October of 2015, Julia was announced as the first character on Sesame Street with Autism. This adorable, red-haired Muppet with sweet green googly eyes was introduced to Sesame Street fans as a fun, happy-go-lucky pal for the Sesame Street crew. The creators behind this popular show are hoping to fight the stigma of autism. They created Julia to raise awareness of autism and to fight bullying in schools.
Autism has risen in diagnosis over the past 10 years, and now it is time for public awareness to spread.
Their work was inspired by the recent rise in autism diagnosis. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control reported that autism diagnosis rose to twice its original rate in just a decade – from 1 in every 125 births to 1 in every 68. Unfortunately, despite how commonly diagnosed it actually is, children with autism are often misunderstood and bullied by their classmates. These kids are often labeled as “weird” and ostracized for being different when in reality they share a lot of things in common with other children too.
Read on to learn more about Julia, her voice's role behind the scenes. and how she has been received by the public eye!
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times