WATCH | There's a new kid on Sesame Street. Meet Julia, the 4-year-old autistic child who's about to win the hearts and minds of young children all over the world.
"That's just Julia being Julia."
—'Abby Cadabby,' a fairy character on Sesame Street
The first new "Sesame Street" Muppet in a decade will also be its first with autism.
Julia, played by puppeteer Stacy Gordon, is 4 years old in the show. She sometimes repeats what she heard other characters say, and it can be hard to get her attention, which are common symptoms of children with autism.
She'll debut on the show April 10.
"I really wish that kids in my son's class had grown up with a 'Sesame Street' that had ... inclusion of characters with autism."
Gordon told NPR she used to do therapeutic work for people with autism. Her son is also on the spectrum.
WATCH | Like most major developments in "Sesame Street," the show introduced its discussion of autism with a song. Julia's backstory has been in the works for years, said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop.
WATCH | Here's Julia and Abby Cadabby, a fairy character, singing the show's iconic theme.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report one in 68 American children have autism.
Sesame Street worked with 14 different autism groups to determine how Julia should be portrayed.
"She's one of the kids, she's one of the gang," said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America. Jochum loved that Julia was a gifted artist on the show, saying it modeled the "wonderful gifts" autism sometimes brings.