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New Muppet Julia expands Sesame’s autism initiative

Sesame Workshop's first autistic Muppet will make her PBS KIDS and HBO debut in April along with new digital content to help families impacted by autism.
March 20, 2017

In its ongoing effort to promote acceptance and deliver tools to help families affected by autism, Sesame Workshop is growing its Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative with the broadcast premiere of autistic Muppet Julia (pictured) and the launch of new digital resources.

Julia, who was introduced as an animated character in an online interactive storybook last year, will make her US Sesame Street debut on April 10 in a special “Meet Julia” episode on HBO and PBS KIDS. A same-day premiere is also scheduled for Turner’s Cartoonito in the UK, ABC in Australia and Televisa in Mexico, followed by a broader international rollout within the year.

Puppeteer Stacey Gordon, whose son has autism, plays Julia in the Christine Ferraro-written episode.

Along with its linear debut, the “Meet Julia” Sesame Street segment will launch on YouTube and at sesamestreet.org/autism. Both online platforms will also launch six new digital live-action segments featuring Julia, Elmo and Abby Cadabby.

In addition, an eBook entitled We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3!¬†will be available in English for Amazon Kindle, the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet, Apple iBooks and other eBook platforms. Amazon and Amazon FreeTime have also donated 100 Fire Kids Edition tablets to schools and programs that work with autistic children.

For new digital resources, the Workshop is also launching a collection of videos, books, and eBooks in both English and Spanish. And rounding out the digital content, the free Sesame Street and Autism app will be accessible on the Amazon App store for the first time.

For offline components, Julia will make costumed character appearances at special community events, and a Random House Children’s Books version of We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3! will be published in January 2018.

As the new phase of the initiative rolls out, Sesame Workshop is also set to release preliminary findings in April from new autism research conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center and Children’s National Health System.

To date, the Emmy-nominated Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative has generated more than 1.6 million page views, and has more than 400,000 users and 30,000 app downloads. The expanded campaign comes as more producers are getting behind empathy-focused content that promotes inclusion and kindness.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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