Children’s show Sesame Street is to introduce a new character with autism.
Julia, a young Muppet with red hair and bright green eyes, will aim to “reduce the stigma” attached to the condition, programme bosses said.
The character already exists in print and digital storybooks as part of an initiative called Sesame Street And Autism: See Amazing In All Children.
Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president of US social impact, said: “In the US, one in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
“We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children.
“Just as we look at all children as being unique, we should do the same thing when we’re looking at children with autism.”
Sesame Street has been on the air since 1969 and features a host of famous characters including Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo and Cookie Monster.
Julia will be first seen on Sesame Street on an episode to be aired in the US on April 10.