Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the TV show, just announced that they will release a new character, adding to the existing cast. The new character’s name will be Julia, a yellow muppet that suffers from autism. Sesame Street gets autistic cast member in order to make the public aware of how you should interact with people that suffer from this rare neurological disorder.
In an interview for the People Magazine, executive vice president Sherrie Westin said that Julia was specifically created to make the public aware on how to deal with autistic people. She said that if you are a five years old kid and you see another kid who doesn’t want to make eye contact with you that doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t want to talk to you or to play with you.
He can’t do those things like other people. Westin said that those are exactly the case for which Julia, the yellow Muppet, was designed for: to raise awareness among the public and increase their empathy towards them. Sesame Street gets autistic cast member and hope that they will be able to further increase empathy among the public.
Although Julia will not yet be a member of the TV show, she will appear in digital storybooks. Executive Vice President Westin said that according to a new study involving the nature of interaction between autistic children and their family it has been observed that family members tend to use digital applications more often than other families.
Along with the digital storybooks, families will now be able to access other digital content that offer an insight of how people with autism manage everyday activities. There are a lot of passages about how to brush your teeth, how you groom yourself and even how you dress. The material address people with children aged between two and five.
According to official statistics, there are over 700.000 people diagnosed with autism in Great Britain alone (1.1% percent of the population). Although autism is an incurable disease, members of National Autistic Society said that the right attitude at the right time and in the right place could make all the difference in the world for these people.
As part of this awareness campaign, Julia, alongside Elmo and the other Muppets will engage in everyday activities like a person who suffers from this disease. Producers we’re very careful in their endeavor to mimic all signs of autism. They included one of the classical sign of autism: the clapping of hands in order to express joy.
Westin is very confident that following this campaign, more and more people will be aware of autism and they will learn how to interact when they see people suffering from this neurological disorder.
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