Sesame Street debut new character with autism

Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 March 2017, 10:57AM

The newest resident of Sesame Street has orange hair and a love of her toy rabbit. She also has autism.

Julia has been a part of the "Sesame Street" family via its storybooks and was so popular that the decision was made to add the character to the TV series.

"I think the big discussion right at the start was, 'How do we do this? How do we talk about autism?,'" one of the show's writers, Christine Ferraro, told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl.

Joan Ganz Cooney , one of the founders of the Children's Television Workshop which developed "Sesame Street," said it has also not been afraid to deal with real life issues including the death of a beloved character, Mr. Hooper in 1983.

"Sesame Street had always dealt with the real," she said. " And it was real, and so we decided not to just replace him and call the man Mr. Hooper and hope they didn't notice."

Big Bird talked to Stahl about his first interaction with Julia in which she ignored him.

"I thought that maybe she didn't like me," he said.

"Yeah, but you know, we had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird," Elmo added. " It's just that Julia has autism. So sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things."

Julia who will be operated by a woman, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism.