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About Sesame Street, Inclusion, Reality

The media is overwhelmed, reacting to the inclusion of a muppet with autism. If it only was that easy in real life…

@Ellen DeGeneres tweet is reflective of the vague words used by most media outlets – –  People make people feel included I dare to add, not a muppet!

The effort and expense used to create this new character is immense. Many fortunate individuals are a part of this project. I am very glad parents of individuals in the spectrum contributed.

My issue with the new characters lies with the words shared by my daughter in the spectrum. As soon as she saw the picture (I swear I had not made any comment to her or she had not heard me say a thing about it) she says:

 “Ridiculous! How can a frog have autism?”

She insists:  “Autism is not scary!” And reminds me she wants her own reality shown!

 

And she is correct. Autism cannot be portrayed by a muppet. Autism must be portrayed by individuals in the spectrum – the happy moments and the nasty ones. This is the one alternative being shown to kids. Believe me, it cannot be the option that validates the needs of millions of people. Why? It is not real.

Enough with wanting to sugar coat autism. There is no way Julia’s presence (a muppet) in Sesame Street will guarantee an increase in empathy and tolerance from those not surviving a many times brutal diagnosis. Yes, it is brutal because most individuals do not have to deal with a meltdown, torn clothes, sleeplessness, loss of cognitive skills, not being taught how to communicate, being 30 years old and not having bladder control – for starters. Julia I doubt will touch upon these nasty, easily ignored and misunderstood realities. I hope I am wrong.

When producers and media executives are ready to have a serious conversation about autism, behaviors, including individuals in the spectrum in their shows — my daughter and I are here. We have plenty of ideas believe me.

In the meantime, we shall continue to share our message. Many times this involves demanding inclusion as people, not dolls, muppets, etc. — EVERYWHERE!

 

  • Each picture included – even with the smiles – represents a challenge overcome. Meltdown included! TV must show this and more!!