Young viewers and their families will soon meet a Sesame Street Muppet who's a little different than the ones they already know when the long-running children's show introduces Julia, who has autism.
60 Minutes offered a preview of Julia on Sunday's episode when correspondent Lesley Stahl visited the Sesame Street set while Julia's first episode was being filmed. Writer Christine Ferraro told Stahl that it's important for the show to normalize autism for children, especially since autism spectrum diagnoses have skyrocketed in the past 20 years or so. But she acknowledged it was a challenge to figure out exactly how to present it.
"It's tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism," Ferraro said. "There is an expression that goes, 'If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.'"
So in Julia's introductory episode, they're working to help audiences understand when a kid with autism doesn't behave in a typical way by having Elmo and Abby Cadabby explain why Julia didn't respond when Big Bird talked to her.