Sesame Street debuts muppet with autism

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sesame Street’s new muppet Julia debuted Monday.

Julia has autism and many in Austin’s autism community hope her character can build awareness among children and their families. A Dell Children’s Medical Center psychiatrist spoke with us about the impact of seeing her on television.

Dr. Jane Ripperger-Suhler says, “It normalizes it. It makes it a part of everyday life and gives people who are dealing with autism and people who don’t know anything about autism, an opportunity to meet and understand each other better.”

One in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children get screened between 18 and 24 months.

Dell Children’s specialists see children with autism and other mental and behavioral health disorders. It’s new and expanded mental health unit should be complete next spring. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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