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Sesame Street debuts character with Autism

Women's Weekly logo Women's Weekly 20/03/2017
© Provided by Bauer Media Group (NZ) LP

A new Sesame Street character will help expose young children to the idea of Autism, says one of the show's long-running writers.

Christine Ferraro, who has written for the American kids' show for over two decades, says the character of Julia will be introduced next month - and she will be on the Autism spectrum.

Speaking with 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl, Christine says they are very aware the Autism can differ greatly from person to person, but that their aim has been to make a character that kids can relate to in the real world.

“It’s tricky because Autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism. There is an expression that goes, ‘If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism,’” Ferraro said.

She added that they hope having this kind of character will make children realise that real-life Autism sufferers are not to be feared, and can be their friends too.

The show worked with Autism organizations including Autism Self Advocacy and Autism Speaks to best personify the traits of a child on the spectrum.

Julia is one of many new characters who have been added to help reach specific communities of children, including kids with same-sex parents, military families and kids whose parents are in prison.

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