In 2017, Sesame Street introduced a new character, Julia, a yellow Muppet preschooler who has autism. Julia exhibits behaviors that are associated with people who have an autism spectrum diagnosis, such as difficulty maintaining eye contact and repetitive speech.

The children’s program has always featured a diverse cast of Muppet and human characters to represent the neighborhood’s different ethnic, racial, age, gender, and monster groups, and its commitment to portraying a complex and realistic community extends to characters who experience medical differences. Linda, a deaf librarian; Tarah, a girl with osteogenesis imperfecta who uses a wheelchair; and Kami, a Muppet with HIV, show young viewers that people with disabilities or health challenges are part of everyone’s neighborhoods.

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Six months before the time of witches, ghouls, and goblins rolls around, Universal Studios starts to rev up anticipation for the haunting season. For its annual Halloween Horror Nights celebration, the theatrical theme park turns its playful stomping grounds into a horrifying vision, bringing in the scariest villains and monsters from cinematic and televised history. So far for the 2018 Halloween season, Universal has confirmed that one of its mazes would recreate the 80’s nostalgia of Netflix’s Stranger Things.

According to the Stranger Things maze reveal, Universal aims to transport guests into “the show’s most iconic scenes” with a heavy emphasis on the series’ characters and 80’s setting. Guests will trek through the Upside Down, evading Demogorgons set loose on Hawkins, IN and the Hawkins National Laboratory. The retro maze isn’t the first time Universal Studios turned to television for Halloween-themed attractions. Since the growing popularity of The Walking Dead, the Orlando, FL. Hollywood, CA, and Singapore theme parks have featured several mazes and walking tours set in Robert Kirkman’s post-apocalyptic undead world.

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