Sesame Street’s New Disabled Muppet
For about two years, the people behind “Sesame Street” have been working with inclusion advisors to create an authentic disabled character for the show. In April of 2022, they introduced this new Muppet, an 8-year-old girl named Ameera who has a spinal cord injury and is a wheelchair user. Ameera first appeared on the equivalent show airing in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ameera loves basketball, science, and making her friends laugh with her jokes. The Sesame Workshop team hopes that children with disabilities will be able to relate to her character and feel seen and that her character will help normalize disability. It was also important for them to portray a female STEM character who loves sports. So, the team decided to add these characteristics to Ameera’s persona.
The Arabic version of the Muppet Show, “Ahlan Simsim,” translated as “Welcome Sesame,” first aired in 2020 and was created to help children who have gone through traumatic experiences and displacement due to the Syrian War. Ameera is a main character on this show and will also be featured in Sesame Workshop’s animated learning videos for children displaced by conflict, which are being adapted now to address children affected by the war in Ukraine.