Let me ask you a question: In an average week of television viewing, how many people with disabilities do you see?1
I started thinking about this when I bought the Sesame Street Old School Volume 3 DVD set--which includes five full episodes, equivalent to a week's worth of Sesame Street--and as I watched it, I suddenly realized that I had probably seen more people with disabilities in a week's worth of Sesame Street than I see in an average YEAR of television watching.2
Sometimes they are people who are otherwise well known, like Christopher Reeve or Itzhak Perlman (who has made at least three different appearances,3 each one of which was awesome). However, I think it's safe to say that more often they are people whose primary claim to fame is appearing on Sesame Street. More on that tomorrow.
1Granted, it's not an entirely fair question because some disabilities aren't visually observable.
2Although I don't claim that my television habits are typical; quite the contrary.
3I notice that he's wearing the same shirt in all three, so they were probably all recorded at the same time, but they didn't all air at the same time, so I count them as three separate appearances.