Holly Robinson Peete Applauds New Autistic Character on ‘Sesame Street’

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<em>Sesame Street</em> has added a Muppet with autism, a move celebrated by many, including Holly Robinson Peete, whose eldest son has the spectrum disorder. (Photos: Sesame Workshop/Getty Images)
Sesame Street has added a Muppet with autism, a move celebrated by many, including Holly Robinson Peete, whose eldest son has the spectrum disorder. (Photos: Sesame Workshop/Getty Images)

Sesame Street introduced its newest Muppet, Julia, and the character, who has autism, is already getting cheers from Holly Robinson Peete.

The For Peete’s Sake star, who has been an autism activist since her 19-year-old son, RJ, was diagnosed at the age of 3, celebrated the new addition to the classic kids’ show, who is described as a good singer and can remember all the words to lots of songs.” “Yay,” the actress wrote on Twitter. She called it a “game changer” and a “full-circle moment for me.”

Making it especially meaningful is that Robinson’s father, Matt Robinson, was the original Gordon on the show. He played the role from 1969 to 1972. (He joined the show as a producer and preferred working behind the scenes.)

In subsequent posts, Robinson Peete, who is married to former NFL star Rodney Peete, described the addition of Julia as “so huge for the #ASD #specialneeds community!!”

She also retweeted a post from someone who noted that the addition of the character “must make your heart burst on so many levels,” adding several exclamation marks.

The OWN star’s son, RJ, has exceeded doctors’ expectations. Last year, he landed his first job, working in the clubhouse for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As his mom noted, this was a boy who doctors said would never speak — let alone hold a job.

Holly Robinson-Peete and her son Rodney Peete, Jr. attends the 2015 Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation Gala at the Hilton Chicago on May 16, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
Holly Robinson Peete with her son RJ in 2015. (Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

In a recent episode of For Peete’s Sake, it was revealed that RJ, who works closely with an autism coach, recently obtained his driver’s license. Robinson Peete, who has four children, was both excited and nervous for him.

“He’s checking off all those nevers that people said he could never do,” said his dad. “He never ceases to amaze me and Holly and the rest of the family.”

Robinson Peete is one of many celebrities excited to see Julia rounding out the Sesame Street family — and being more representative of the kinds of people you’ll meet in the world. (More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Autism Society.) Chelsea Clinton, who is mom to two young children, also posted about it.


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