10 November 1969 was the very first episode of Sesame Street. One year later a brilliant young woman started her career with Sesame Street. One that would span 39 years and counting!
(Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!)
This woman's name is Emily Perl Kingsley. In 1974 she had a son, she named him Jason. Soon after Jason Kingsley was born, a doctor recommended that his mother institutionalise him and tell her friends that he had died in childbirth. Jason, the doctor predicted, would "never read or write or have a single meaningful thought or idea," he has Down Syndrome, you see. Well, he most certainly is able to walk and talk and he has plenty of meaningful thoughts and ideas AND has also written a book!
Over the years of writing for Sesame Street, she has done much to include children with disabilities on the show. There have been many beautiful children with DS that have been part of the show over the years and many children in wheel chairs (including a character on the show) and other disabilities, as well. She was honoured in October 2008 with a special award from the U.S. Government Department of Health and Human Services in recognition of her ground-breaking work including individuals with disabilities on Sesame Street. She has won 12 Daytime Emmys and 9 nominations through her work with Sesame Street, three EDIs and a Grand EDI from Easter Seals, and an award from the National Theatre of the Deaf.
As well, if you have ever known someone with Down Syndrome you have probably read the very well known 'Welcome to Holland'. It was written in 1987 by none other than Emily Perl Kingsley. This written work has become the face, if you will, of Down Syndrome. 'Holland' has become part of the 'lingo' that parents with a child with Down Syndrome use.
Read 'Welcome to Holland' Here
To know that Jason is also a gifted writer should really come as no surprise and to those with children with Down Syndrome, well, it isn't a surprise. To the doctors that initially told Emily her son had Down Syndrome it may be a surprise.
Jason was on roughly 50 episodes of Sesame Street as he was growing up. He completed High School and he lives in group home and he and his mother have made great strides in changing the perceptions people have of disabilities.
To purchase Jason's book through Good Search so that Reece's Rainbow will be automatically given a donation CLICK HERE
As well, check back for information on how you can see Emily and Jason speaking at the Buddy Cruise in July! As both Meredith and Andrea can tell you, they are absolutely lovely in person and very inspiring speakers!