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Star Trek Fan for Life is Cool But Sesame Street Fan for Life is Not?

Mia Sesame StreetNote: Thanks to our friends at National Autism Association for sharing this post on their Facebook page. My two older daughters definitely love TV shows and characters that are not age appropriate. Mia is 23, and still loves Sesame Street. Her recent discovery (perseveration) of Charlie Brown brought me a huge sigh of relief. And I'm not proud of that. "Oh! Everyone can love Charlie Brown. I still do!" I did exactly what this young woman with autism says we NTs do to people with autism. I tried to force my girls to "move on" from their dear childhood friends to more age appropriate enjoyment.  Why? To make me feel like they were making progress? To spare them embarrassment that they did not feel when out and about? I recall several years ago one of my care team was at camp with the girls, when an 18 year old camper had a huge meltdown and tried to bolt the building. Why? Because she wanted to listen to the theme song to a Nick Jr TV show and the counselor kept telling her "No! That's a baby show."  If someone said to me, "No! You can't have a cup of coffee because it's after 3:00pm," I'd get angry and frustrated. Why can't our kids just love what they love? Thanks to Kristine Motokane for this insightful piece.


How Pressure to Be 'Age Appropriate' Can Harm Autistic People

By Kristine Motokane

Whenever I go shopping in stores or browse online, I’ve noticed that certain things are categorized based on factors such as age, gender etc. For instance, the children’s section in clothing stores tends to have more character clothing, bright colors and be cutesier, while the adult section has less selection of character clothing and tends to be more sophisticated. Even the gift guides, specific lifestyle blogs and advertisements tend to categorize specific activities, themed characters etc. based on age groups. The examples I just mentioned are a reflection of the expectations society has in terms of what interests are appropriate for each age group and stage.

For some people with autism like myself, the concept of “age appropriateness” does not apply. We tend to not care about these kinds of arbitrary standards. However, many professionals and parents discourage interests that are perceived as inappropriate for one’s age. This well-meaning gesture is often an attempt to get the person to “fit in” better with their peers. As a 25-year old on the spectrum who has interests targeted to a younger audience, I disagree with this practice of getting autistic people (particularly teens and adults) to develop more “appropriate interests.” It pathologizes what is actually individual expression of interests and preferences all humans have. With this framework in mind, I will use my experience with this topic to explain why I dislike the term “age appropriateness.”

Ever since I was little, I had a strong interest in characters. In preschool it was Pocahontas and Lion King, while in grade school it was the Rugrats, Pokemon and Powerpuff Girls. The characters I liked would change throughout the years, but one thing would remain constant — characters continued to be my special interest. Fast forward to middle school; I still had a strong preoccupation with characters. I developed a strong preoccupation with Hello Kitty as well as Disney Princesses. I would have to buy merchandise from bedding to jewelry that was plastered with my favorite characters. Unlike the earlier years of elementary school and preschool, it became less “socially acceptable” to be into characters. Most of the girls started developing more mature interests such as boys and fashion.

As with some other parents of autistic teens, my mother became concerned that I didn’t have a fashion sense and still clung to my childhood interests as I approached high school. This is one of the reasons why I started working with a behaviorist — to help me learn what other teens were into. Sessions with the behaviorist consisted of trips to the mall and going to teenage stores, looking at fashion magazines as well as watching “trendy” TV shows. Perhaps my least favorite part was the “cool “or “not cool” chart that my therapist did during a social skills group one time for learning the “in’s” and “out’s” of teen culture.  Read more here at The Mighty.



My son loves Disney. Yesterday was his 22nd Birthday and he asked for the Aristocats to watch when he got up. He spent the day on the couch watching movie after movie until we took him to dinner.
He uses his IPad now to find scenes from the movie he is watching on TV. He also watches scenes in foreign languages. Sometimes he's stumbled upon Dirty Disney videos with swear words in them!
One of the saddest discoveries he has made on YouTube is the kids/adults who can read and speak filming themselves showing off their Disney collection of Dvds or videos. Hearing their unusual spech as they proudly discuss their favorite Disney flicks in their collection.
My son loves those videos the most I think. But, it's all so sad.

Angus Files

Thomas The Tank Engine here for us all,interspersed with Scooby Doo and the history off Great Steam Ships quite a healthy mind for someone diagnosed as regressive autism-long may it continue.

Back to the fight e-mailing the Scottish Ministers flunkies with my brain jam, Autism.

Pharma for Prison


carolyn kylewmom

Kim forgive yourself on at least this count: it’s great when your children’s interests evokve because YOU need the variety! And it’s normal for parents to get sick of a stage. Its abnormal for children to be stuck in one forever.

L  Land

I am sorry but..
Someone who writes at that grade level makes a real choice as to what they like (or don't like)

Someone, like my son, who is 'stuck' watching Disney videos because he has Autism is not by choice

Also I think Charlie Brown is horribly sexist and most of those Christmas animations have awful messages, think Rudolph and how Santa treats him and the elfs terribly until he has a use for them.

Yes, way too many views!

Hans Litten

"Yes, we have to take into account the limitations autistic pupils face, as well as their personal preferences. But parents and teachers should also prod them to reach their full potential, even if that means pushing them out of their comfort zone."

This is exactly what the more determined end of the AntiVax movement is trying to do with the masses of the public who still believe the lamestream media when it says :

Autism is genetic or inherited
Vaccines dont cause Autism (pah !)
Vaccines a safe and effective (the biggest lie in all history)
The government cares for your welfare
The CDC is a healthcare institution (not warfare)
Colleen Boil is Mother Theresa reincarnate
Julie Gerberding is The Third Reichs woman of the year (sorry this one might be true)


Hi Readers Anonymous;
Yes, I agree. it is a challenge that requires balance.My son went through a pre teen stage of enjoying "My little pony". We said , fine to watch at home, not a good topic of discussion with kids at school.
My son wants to be accepted. And he loves a local football team too; that is something everyone else can relate to.
Because he wants acceptance but does not have any sense of the social consequences of some things, he deserves the right to at least be aware of what they most likely will be.
His older brother deliberately decided to practice knitting on the school bus. ( though he said the wool had to be in a boy color; brown). At the time, he was already tall, six foot, strong, good social skills, and he was ok with the teasing he would get, and able to give back as good as he got.
My younger son would have expected everyone else to be equally delighted with my Little Pony, and would have been hurt if teased.
I don't know what the answer is. I suppose my best guess is what I would want if put in a similar situation and was socially oblivious, which is to at least know the norms.
Having said that, there is also room to enjoy being different, and what is wrong with liking Sesame street, or my little pony?


Hans-You are absolutely correct that we would all be much better off watching quality productions like the Sesame Street videos from the 1980s and Charlie Brown. Charles Schulz and Jim Henson were creative geniuses and their ability to entertain not only the children, but also their parents shows how much they understood human nature. You are also right about the brainwashing Hollywood rubbish that has invaded our lives in today's entertainment!

Readers Anonymous

This article makes some valid points -- but it also evades some serious issues. Of course, anyone at any age has the right to enjoy Sesame Street, at least as an occasional diversion. But what if autism renders you incapable of understanding anything above the level of Sesame Street? That's not a matter of personal choice: then you're effectively excluded from all but the most elementary forms of literature. For all practical purposes, you're trapped in the bookless nightmare described in "Fahrenheit 451." Grace, your absent-minded professor is fully entitled to relax with a comic book after a long day deconstructing "Finnegans Wake" -- but if he read nothing but comic books, he'd have a serious problem.

Yes, we have to take into account the limitations autistic pupils face, as well as their personal preferences. But parents and teachers should also prod them to reach their full potential, even if that means pushing them out of their comfort zone. Rather than allowing them to watch the same toddler-level videos over and over, we should encourage them to read something less familiar and more challenging. I speak as the parent of an autistic girl who made no progress in high school until we transferred her to another school, where she was pushed to read National Geographic and chapter books: suddenly her reading ability leapt from first-grade level to fifth grade.

Grace Green

Many so-called absent-minded professors (possibly with Aspergers) retain a certain child-like quality when persuing recreational interests rather than their profession. And they can be well known for their terrible puns! Isn't this the same quality as described here?


I also have an adult son who loves watching re-runs of all the Sesame Street characters on youtube and he laughs and is so happy while he is enjoying some of his still favorite characters. I also would never deny him that enjoyment.

John Stone

Bob & Kim

I think one is so saddened because of the loss of potential even though truthfully Sesame Street was rather wonderful. In the UK we used to watch them on video tape while we only had creepy junk on our tv like Teletubbies. I remember a charming episode called “Cooperation Today’ with Katie Couric - it might have a bitter resonance three decades later particularly after what the pharma did to Katie - beating her reputation to pulp - but one would also say it was great tv which also entertained the adults, and Jim Henson was a benign genius (I don’t use the term lightly). Nor do I know what the show is like today apart from reports here of vaccine bullying on it - it is possibly nowhere near as good as it once was.


Hans Litten

Its interesting that you write this article , because the reason why this holocaust has been allowed to occur in the first place , and why it is still occurring , is because of the pure rubbish on TV and all
the other mindless distractions that neurotypical people have allowed to occupy their valuable time.
Only a complete liar & thief could see ANY value whatsoever now at this stage in the technology of vaccination. VPDs they say all the time , what does that stand for ?
Vaccines Poison Development ?

Dads Army Re-runs on the BBC , Last of the Summer Wine , Tipping Point. Big Brother . Xfactor
Blind Date, Take me Out. Jeremy Kyle , Kilroy Silk , Oprah Winfrey. All sport of course.
Everything from the lying lamestream media in fact.

This rubbish and much more is what apparently people of full ability & full intelligence are allowing to fill their valuable time.

God bless your beautiful daughters & all your beautiful children and quite frankly we would all be better off watching Sesame Street and Charlie Brown than the brainwashing Hollywood rubbish we have allowed into our lives.

bob moffit

As the proud grandfather of a loveable 18 year old boy .. who remains fixated on Elmo .. which he would watch endlessly if allowed to do so .. I believe that he deserves to have his own source of pleasure .. even if that pleasure is .. in the mind of others .. not "age appropriate".

All I know is .. he is absolutely happy and content .. giggling and laughing while sitting in front of the computer .. watching re-runs of Elmo on youtube.

I couldn't/wouldn't deny him that pleasure .. even if others disapproved of it.

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