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'Sesame Street' introduces Julia, their first-ever character with autism


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- Jennifer Kline | AOL.com
It's an extra-sunny day on "Sesame Street."

The long-running children's program announced that muppet Julia will become its first-ever character with autism. She will officially join the cast full-time in April.

A Sunday 60 Minutes segment shows the behind-the-scenes process of building Julia in the famous Jim Henson Workshop. She was initially introduced in 2015 as an animated character, but she'll now join Elmo and the rest of the puppet gang.

Julia is brought to life by puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who is a mother of a child with autism. Initially doubtful that Julia would be developed beyond her original animated state, she thought, "It's so far out there, it's never going to happen," she said.

On Julia's first episode, the Sesame Street crew will try to welcome Julia with handshakes, which she rebuffs. They'll realize in time that her resistance isn't impolite, but instead an autistic trait -- and in turn, they'll learn more effective ways to communicate.

Another scene shows Julia and fellow muppet Abby finding a mutually enjoyable activity. Julia speaks and acts a little differently than Abby, but they figure out how to have a great time anyway.

See photos of Sesame Street through the years:

'Sesame Street' through the years

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  • Venus Williams Visits the Set of "Sesame Street"

    New York, NY - April 5, 2004

    Venus Williams and Elmo during Tennis Champion Venus Williams Plays Imaginary Tennis with Elmo for Sesame Street's 35th Season, airing at Sesame Street- Kaufman Studios in New York City.

    (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Sesame Workshop)

  • United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan 2001

    New York, NY - December 6, 2001

    United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane pose for pictures with some Sesame Street characters after the taping of the show in New York. During the taping Mr. Annan breaks up an argument among the characters who are trying to determine who gets to sing the alphabet.

    (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bert and Ernie 1997

    Canada - January 19, 1997

    Big favorites with the kiddies at the Ice Follies show in Maple Leaf Gardens were the Bert and Ernie characters from TV's Sesame Street; according to Star staff writer Frank Rasky. Big Bird was also on hand. 

    (Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

  • FRANKFURT 1997

    Frankfurt - October 24, 1997

    A trader on the Frankfurt bourse trading floor on October 24, 1997 holds a massive stuffed doll of "Sesame Street" character Ernie. The Ernie doll was brought to the trading floor ahead of the flotation next week of U.S. company EMTV, which produces the Sesame Street program.

    (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

  • 5/13/1990, 5-14-1990; Sesame Street; Chris Jasewicz; Colliseum Sesame street characters with rip Ver

    May 13, 1990

    Sesame Street characters with Rip Verniero, age 9. 

    (Photo By The Denver Post via Getty Images)

  • Big Bird Clinton 1998

    Shanghai, China - June 30, 1998 

    Big Bird joins Hillary Rodham Clinton at the grand opening of the Shanghai Children's Medical Center. The center is a joint venture with Project Hope of the U.S., the Shanghai city government and Shanghai Second Medical University. More than 250,000 children a year will be served by the center. Big Bird is a character on the television program Sesame Street.

    (Simon Kwong/Reuters)

  • Sesame Street 1969

    Circa 1969, Cast members of the television show, 'Sesame Street,' posing on the set with some of the puppet characters. Left to right: Will Lee (1908 - 1982), Matt Robinson (1937 - 2002), Bob McGrath and Loretta Long with (left to right) Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie, Bert and Oscar the Grouch.

    (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Katie Couric, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo 2003

    June 4, 2003

    Katie Couric with Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch and Elmo at the Sesame Street Gala to Celebrate 35 years of making a difference in the lives of children

    (Theo Wargo via Getty Images/WireImage for Sesame Workshop)

  • 2009 "Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary Temporary Street Renaming In New York City

    NEW YORK, NY November 9, 2009

    Sesame Street character Big Bird walks through Dante Park at the 'Sesame Street' 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park.

    (Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)

  • 2016 Sesame Street And HBO Host Free Museum Day At The New Children's Museum Of San Diego With A Special Performance By Elmo And Friends

    San Diego, CA - January 9, 2016

    Sesame Street characters Cookie Monster and Grover pose backstage at Sesame Street and HBO Host Free Museum Day with a special performance by Elmo and Friends at The New Children's Museum in San Diego, California.

    (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

  • 2009 "Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary Temporary Street Renaming

    New York, NY - November 9, 2009

    Sesame Street characters pose under a '123 Sesame Street' sign at the 'Sesame Street' 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park.

    (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

  • Sesame Street Live characters Elmo 2010

    New York, NY - February 4, 2010

    Sesame Street Live characters Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster celebrate the renaming of the corner of 31st Street and Eighth Avenue to 'Sesame Street' outside Madison Square Garden in New York.

    (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • You Vote Campaign Shoot - New York 2007

    New York, NY - September 19, 2007

    Sesame Street characters Prairie Dawn and Zoe attend a portrait session for the You Vote Campaign at 1100 6th Avenue in New York City.

    (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage) 

  • 2015 Saturday Night Live - Season 40

    New York, NY - April 11, 2015

    Cookie Monster and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie during the 'Sesame Street Promo' skit on Saturday Night Live.

    (Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

  • 2016 Sesame Street And HBO Host Free Museum Day At The New Children's Museum Of San Diego With A Special Performance By Elmo And Friends

    San Diego, CA - January 9, 2016

    Sesame Street characters Rosita and Elmo pose backstage at Sesame Street and HBO Host Free Museum Day with a special performance by Elmo and Friends at The New Children's Museum in San Diego.

    (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

  • 2010 Street Renaming To Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of "Sesame Street Live"

    New York, NY - February 4, 2010

    Sesame Street characters attend the temporary street renaming to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street Live on 31st Street & 8th Avenue n New York City.

    (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage) 

  • 2012 ABC's "The Chew" - Season One

    New York, NY - April 2, 2012

    Cookie Monster visits with Daphne Oz, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Carla Hall on 'The Chew' on ABC.

    (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) 

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