One in 68 children are on the autism spectrum. Sesame Street hopes a new character, Julia, will help raise awareness and acceptance about the disorder.
Julia's message is special for one little Massachusetts girl, also named Julia. Julia Garvin of Tewksbury gets herself and the character confused.
Garvin is on the autism spectrum with milder symptoms thanks to early intervention and counseling.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"It's so much like her — the way she moves, the way she communicates, the challenges she has," her mother, Erika, said.
Erika believes a big misconception is that children living with autism do no not want to have friends. She thinks this new Sesame Street character will help educate kids watching the show.
ARC, an autism advocacy group based in Waltham, said Sesame Street's Julia will teach people how to interact with someone with autism. Maura Sullivan with ARC said building awareness is extremely important.
"Once they are exposed to a child or adult with autism, the fears go away," she said. "They start to accept, and they learn, and they start to be curious and interested, and that's how friends can develop."