March 20, 2017By Christine Giles, MS, CCC-SLP
Julia is shy with bright red hair and green eyes. She enjoys painting, drawing and picking flowers. Julia also has autism! When she speaks, she echoes the words and phrases that she hears her friends speak. This is because echolalia is a common trait seen in those with autism. Sesame Street has been on air for almost five decades, and has always had a reputation for inclusion within the cast of muppets. Julia’s puppeteer, Stacy Gordon, has had experience doing therapeutic work for people with autism, and also has a son who is on the autism spectrum. All of these experiences have bonded Gordon to Julia, and she believes that this show will be a great resource for students with autism and their peers. Julia will be a permanent character on Sesame Street, and several parents have reported how important her presence on the show is. One in sixty-eight Americans have autism, so it is important to portray representations of those on the spectrum. Julia’s presence on the show is an important step in the right direction when it comes to advocacy and representation for those with autism.
Christine Giles, MS, CCC-SLP is a practicing therapist as well as the owner of Creative Therapy Works, LLC. She earned an undergraduate degree at The Florida State University with a major in Communication Disorders and a Master of Science degree from The University of Wyoming in Speech-Language Pathology. She has been actively practicing therapy in schools, pediatric hospitals, private settings, home health, rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing facilities since 2002.