Sesame Street introduces character with autism

Published: Mar. 20, 2017 at 9:53 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WTMV) -- Next month, you'll start seeing a new kid on the block on Sesame Street. She is a character more than five years in the making. Four-year-old Julia has bright red hair, loves to sing, and has autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that can affect a person's ability to communicate and interact.

Today, CW News at 9 talked with Mary Fruits from Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin about what this means to for families of children with autism.

“I think the addition of Julia to the Sesame Street show is going to open so many doors in the autism community. People are going to have a better understanding of what autism is and what autism is not,” said Fruits.

A researcher from the University of Wisconsin said Julia is a welcomed addition to Sesame Street's cast. Sigan Hartley led a study about the day-to-day lives of parents raising children with autism.

She said Julia helps destigmatize negative images of children with autism and shows differences are not a bad thing.

For the last three years, the Waisman Center study, funded by the National Institute on Mental Health, has been looking at understanding the unique experiences of families with a child with autism and how to better provide support and services.

Copyright 2017: WMTV