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'Sesame Street' Adds New Character With Autism

Julia, new Sesame Street character with autism.
Photograph by Sesame Workshop

"Sesame Street" has a new kid on the block, and she's come to raise awareness about an important topic among families.

Meet Julia, who will be starring in "Sesame Street and Austism: See Amazing in All Children," an initiative that launched on Wednesday to help kids and parents better understand the disorder, which affects one in 68 children in the United States, according to a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Julia appears in the digital book and app that Sesame Workshop created in partnership with 14 other organizations, including Autism Speaks. In addition to the stories, there are also resource materials available to help family and friends engage with kids who have the disorder.

In the storybook, when the characters are playing on the playground, Elmo helps Abby Cadabby understand why Julia interacts differently with other kids.

"Elmo's daddy told Elmo that Julia has autism," he tells Abby. Sometimes he needs to explain things to her with fewer words, he continues.

When the trio head to Hooper's store for a snack, Julia suddenly covers her ears.

"Julia has really good ears," Elmo explains to Abby. "Sometimes she hears noises that Elmo doesn't notice. Like the noise the blender makes. She really doesn't like it!"

"Sesame Street" is also encouraging parents, educators and friends to share their stories over social media with the hashtag #SeeAmazing.

Image via Sesame Workshop

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