Julia is the latest character to grace the big screen alongside pop culture giants Big Bird and Elmo. She is also the first Muppet to have autism.
Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. Someone with autism may display inappropriate social interaction, poor eye contact, compulsive behavior, impulsivity, repetitive movements, self-harm, or persistent repetition of words or actions.
Autism is more than common than most might think. There are ore than 200,00 registered U.S. cases every year, and now, autism is becoming more widely known because of Julia.
Julia displays common symptoms of a child with autism. In the upcoming episode where she will be introduced, we will see clips of Julia dealing with autism while still being friends with everyone. In the beginning scene, we see Julia hanging out with Elmo and Abby and coloring. Big Bird walks up and introduces himself to Julia but she doesn’t respond. Big Bird sees this as Julia does not like him, but Elmo and Abby explain that Julia just does not talk as much because she has autism.
One common effect that autistic kids experience is hypersensitivity. This can be seen in another scene in which a loud noise goes off and Julia has a meltdown. Elmo and Abby explain to everyone that this is because Julia just doesn’t like loud noises.
I think having an autistic Muppet is amazing. I’ve run into many autistic kids while in school and had no clue about anything in regards to them. With Julia, now kids will no what to expect and how to handle certain situations. They will realize that they can be friends with someone with autism.
(Below is a video explaining Julia and how she came to be from 60 minutes. Don’t worry, it’s only 13 minutes.)