In the States, toddlers watch Noggin, PBS and Nick Jr. Across the pond, many tots tune in to Cbeebies. This popular network runs entertaining and educational preschooler shows (Teletubbies, for one) online, on the radio, and on television -- and one of the new hosts of the TV program is 29-year-old Cerrie Burnell, a pretty and talented woman who just so happens to have been born without a hand.
Click here to see a video clip of Cerrie Burnell on the program.
A few British parents are complaining that Burnell's disability "scares" and "may cause sleep problems in" their children.
One viewer wrote in a blog:
"Is it just me, or does anyone else think Burnell may scare the kids because of her disability?"
"I didn't want to let my children watch the filler bits on the bedtime hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter's mind and possibly caused sleep problems."
Needless to say, I find these comments pretty upsetting. I want my child to meet, know, and ask questions about disabled people as much as possible, and MOST of the viewers of the BBC program agree. They find Burnell wonderful, and say this is the perfect opportunity to educate their children and fight discrimination.
Little children are the most accepting creatures on earth, IMO -- something only becomes an issue if an adult makes it one. I only wish that more of the networks here had hosts like Cerrie, exposing children to people with all types of abilities and disabilities.
The debate flying around the blogs in England is what do you tell your young child about people like Burnell, and what is the best age to explain about disabilities.
Want to add your views? Would you let your child watch a television show hosted by a person with a somewhat graphic disability?