Julia, a new Muppet with autism, joined the cast of the children's show "Sesame Street" on Oct. 21 (video below).
Julia is noticeably different from other children, is not socially responsive, has trouble making friends initially, but is accepted by the other characters after Elmo explains her autism, reports CBS News.
The autistic character headlines the "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” project, which includes a downloadable app with video and story cards as well as storybook materials for those who care for children with autism and those trying to educate the public about autism, notes People.
Julia is a female, but boys are four to five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism in the U.S., according to Salon.
In response, Sherrie Westin, Sesame Street's executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, told the Los Angeles Times:
"We made sure she was a girl namely because autism is seen so much more often in boys. We wanted to make it clear that girls can be on the spectrum, too ... We’re trying to eliminate misconceptions, and a lot of people think that only boys have autism.
"We don’t pretend that every child who is on the spectrum is the same. Sesame is trying to tackle a fundamental problem: Autistic children are five times as likely to be bullied than their peers."
That's not quite good enough for Mike Adams, who wrote on the website Natural News he disliked that the character tries to "normalize" what he described as "vaccine injuries." Adams asserts that vaccinations cause autism.
There is no scientific proof that vaccines cause autism, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but Julia has also been slammed by other anti-vaxxers on the Vaccine Resistance Movement's Facebook page:
"Jerks. When are we going to put these a--holes out of business?"
"What are they nuts? Media will make it look like so much fun — everyone will accept the damage that Big Pharma is doing to the nation's children. More brainwashing. OMG! The Diabetes ad is horrific enough — they make it look like so much fun being diabetic it elicits feelings that you are missing out on something. What is wrong with people!"
"I'm sorry but any child with autism is just like any normal child. We don't need to single them out or teach our children that autism is a disease and to stay away from anyone who has it!"
"They try to brush it off as a normal disease that anyone can get like flippen measles! Morons!"
"Autism is NOT normal, it is COMMON due to the ever increasing vaccine schedule causing widespread brain injury. Children are being poisoned on schedule and most parents sit back and accept what is being strategically done to their children and grandchildren .Not my children, not now, not ever. 3 generations unvaccinated in our family, absolutely NO autism. Stop accepting vaccine damage as genetic weakness!"