Sesame Street introduces first character with autism

The folks who have been bringing us "Sesame Street" for 46 years say their mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. And to that end, they are adding a new character.

In Sesame Street's new online story book, the new kid on the block seems to be a little different. And it's not just Julia's bright orange hair.

"Hi," Abby calls loudly. Julia doesn't answer.


"Your friend doesn't like me," Abby says sadly, the story book reads.

But since this block is Sesame Street, Elmo's on the job of teaching kids what they need to know.

"Elmo's daddy told Elmo that she has autism," Elmo explains. "So she does things a little differently."

The story of Julia is part of a campaign to see the amazing in all children.

More than 6 out of 10 children with autism have been bullied at some point. The idea behind Julia is familiarity breeds compassion. And compassion helps reduce that number being bullied.

The Twitter-sphere blew up at the news.

"Julia has really good ears. Sometimes she hears noises that Elmo doesn't," Elmo also explains.

The story book ends like you might imagine.

"One two three," counts Julia.

"Yeah, one, two, three friends," counts Abby.


With confusion cleared up friendship is triumphant.

And the sunny days on Sesame Street are now even brighter.

  • Jim Axelrod
    Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative correspondent and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.