Schaeffer was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disorder that causes her to have brittle bones, making her prone to fractures.
Schaeffer was raised in Plainville, Connecticut where she was discovered by Sesame Street talent scouts searching for a child actors that would add diversity to the street. Schaeffer had been on the Newington Children's Hospital's award-winning Cruisers wheelchair athletic team and impressed the show's producers with her wheelchair racing skills and other modified track and field talents.
- -Scott G. Schaeffer (father)
A 2000 Sesame Workshop newsletter mentioned Tarah's inclusion in the cast as one of the top ten significant ways Sesame Street has encouraged diversity:
- -Sesame Workshop Newsletter
Sesame Street writer Emily Perl Kingsley was a strong supporter of Tarah's inclusion in the cast. Kingsley's episode "Tarah's Ballet," which features a wheelchair dance, gained her a Grand EDI. Kingsley also drafted many guests with disabilities, such as Itzhak Perlman and the Little Theater of the Deaf. The integration of Schaeffer exemplified Kingsley's views:
- -Emily Perl Kingsley
Tarah Schaeffer appeared on Sesame Street for eight seasons. She became more and more featured in the scripts, and at times would travel two or three times a week from Connecticut to the studio in New York. However when her family moved to Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, the trip to New York became more difficult, and both Tarah and her family felt it was time to move on
Schaeffer graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 2002, and as of February 2007, she is a fifth-year student of professional writing with a minor in women's studies at a school near her home. She plans to pursue a job as a book critic or in publishing.
- -Tarah Schaeffer
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Life After 'Sesame Street'", Bruce R. Posten, The Reading Eagle, February 25, 2007.
- ↑ "One Place for Different Faces", Elana Halberstadt, Sesame Workshop, January 18, 2000
- ↑ "Emily Perl Kingsley, Sesame Street writer", Rosemarie Blitchington, Vault, 2000