CBeebies’ Cerrie Burnell: ‘It’s great that children learn about inclusion’

TV presenter on how her daughter feels about Cerrie's disability

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When Cerrie Burnell joined CBeebies, there were complaints from parents who said their children were frightened by her missing arm.

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But, instead of focusing on the bad comments, Cerrie decided to use the complaints as an opportunity to talk about diversity.

Cerrie is disabled, suffers from dyslexia and is a single mum to a mixed race daughter, Amelie, aged five. She spoke to BBC’s Ouch about how important inclusion is to her.

“I’m very lucky because CBeebies is one of the most diverse channels the BBC has,” she says. “Any person from any walk of life in the UK can turn that on and see somebody or someone that they can relate to. I think it’s great that children are learning about inclusion without realising it.”

Amelie, Cerrie says, doesn’t think about her mum’s disability much. “Sometimes she’ll say ‘I want to have one hand. Why can’t I have one?’ Other times, ‘Do you wish you had two hands?’ I’ll say no, I’m fine, and she’ll say, ‘Oh good, can I have a cake?’”

As a disabled parent, she was just like “any other new mum”.

“When I got my pushchair, I did make sure that it was one I could fold away quickly with one hand,” she says. “If you want to have a baby, however limited you might be, you’ll still find a way to do it.”

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