Friday, 27 February 2009

New Cbeebies Presenter

There's an article on the BBC about the new Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, who was born without a right hand. It raises some interesting points about how people react to disability. The article says that though there has been a lot of support for Cerrie Burnell:
“...a minority of parents expressed concern that Ms Burnell's appearance was "scaring" children. One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt.”

The presenter says in relation to these concerns from parents and addressing disability with their children:

“It's a totally personal thing and people have to do it when they feel comfortable to do it. But I would just hope that, I guess, me being on CBeebies would present an opportunity for them to do that in the comfort of their own home.”

I certainly agree it's a better to address the question within the home, rather than how children usually do it! The idea though that she's scaring children just seems ridiculous, “my child is scared of watching because she thought the presenter was hurt”, isn't that just your inability to communicate to your child properly? It's like calling death “going to sleep and not waking up” and then wondering your child doesn't want to sleep at night, they just lay there crying softly.

Disability is a fact of life, from being in an accident to being born with a mental or psychical disability. If we were more open about this, wouldn't make it easier on everyone. As I think for a majority of people, you just don't know how to react to disability. It's not something that a large amount of people have been exposed to. But giving disability a platform and visibility like this is a good place to start.

So I say right on Cerrie!

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