Published on: Mar 20, 2017
Julia is an Autistic girl in a Sesame Street World. She has swinging orange hair and her friends notice she behaves different than them during playtime.
While curious, Elmo and friends don’t let the differences stop them from including Julia. Instead, they find a way to meet her where she’s at and then participate in her interests. They also begin to behave as advocates and a support system with new people they meet. Friggin’ awesome.
It’s incredible progress and a joy to see an Autistic child included on this childhood-staple, education-drenched, culture-guiding show. I love the concept of Julia and the stigma she’s going to break. She will begin to humanize Autistics to her neurotypical peers, teachers and families.
Even more awesome, the show gives young Autistics someone they can identify with in the big world. A positive perspective not filled with fear or blame. This is what so many of us when we are young need – to know we’re not alone. Julia is going to be a seed of hope for so many.
My only disappointment at this point is Identity-first language isn’t used. Instead, it’s Person-first, which is generally appropriate when referring to an illness, disease or condition a person is challenged to manage.
The #ActuallyAutistic use Identity-first language. The identity of being Autistic is like the identity of Deaf culture. This is who we are — not a description of something we carry with us (Autism isn’t a suitcase). Many Autistics believe that it’s not just a brain diversity that makes us different than others — but that we’re also a distinct human race.
It’s easy to lose sight of of the Autistic community, or never find it at all — lost in the years of dark marketing and dire predictions of the approaching Autistic Apocalypse. That, or demonized in news and online rants, especially after a campus mass murder or a plane-halting meltdown . . . . So this bright, colorful and very relatable, approachable puppet interacting with the others is big on the feels. BIG. And in a good way.
This is a positive start — an incredible start. Next step is to evolve on the language.
And for the record: I just fucking LOVE Sesame Street.
60 Minutes visits “Sesame Street” for the 1st time and films the debut of new Muppet, Julia, who has autism… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
CBS News (@CBSNews) March 20, 2017