Finding Ourselves: Favourite Children’s DVDs

July 27, 2012

When I first started watching movies with my husband, I found he had an interesting habit of looking for Greek names in the credits. I had a friend of Polish descent who did the same thing with Polish names.  I suppose as human beings we naturally seek out others like us; people we can relate to in one way or another.

Now that my son is eight, he can identify people with Down syndrome, and we get a kick out of spotting children with Down syndrome in my daughter’s DVDs.  Interestingly some of her favourites have kids with Down syndrome in them. I’m sure this is just a coincidence, but it pleases me to see children of varying abilities in these programs. I think it’s good for my son and daughter to know we aren’t the only family with a member who has Down syndrome, and I love when an image of a child comes on and my son says, “Awwww, that looks like Rachie!” 

When Emily Perl Kingsley, a writer on Sesame Street, had a son with Down syndrome in the 1970s, Sesame Street became a pioneer in casting children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Thankfully other children’s shows have followed suit, and below are some of our favourite videos that include kids with Down syndrome:

Elmo’s Potty Time

This is a great video for children who are in the process of toilet learning.  It features favourite characters from Sesame Street, songs, and fun lessons on how to use the potty.



The Wiggles: Top of the Tots

Our daughter’s current favourite videos are by Australian performers The Wiggles. Top of the Tots has lots of upbeat songs for little ones and features children performing with the Wiggles. Warning: once these songs are stuck in your head, it’s very hard to shake them!!  


 Signing Time: Family, Feelings, & Fun

I have already written about how much we love the Signing Time videos.  Creator Rachel Coleman has two children who have special needs, and her videos show real diversity among the children.  It is truly heartwarming to see children with different needs singing and signing along with everyone else in her videos.  Family, Feelings, and Fun has a couple of children with Down syndrome featured. 

 Do all the videos by the Wiggles, Sesame Street, and Signing Time have kids with Down syndrome?  No, and that’s just fine.  They do reflect reality though in that every now and then we do have a little one with beautiful, almond-shaped eyes in our child’s school or at swimming lessons or at dance class.  They signal to families who have children with special needs that they know we’re here, and they want to include our kids.  It is a great message for all children.  These videos are all aimed at preschoolers which seems the perfect age to start teaching acceptance and inclusion.  We all look for people resembling ourselves in books, videos, and real life, but our awareness can only grow if we become familiar with people who happen to be a little bit different.


If you know of any children’s videos that feature kids with special needs, please share in the comment section below!

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