This blog contains thoughts, observations and comments from my experiences past, present and future in the field of special education and Conductive Education. I welcome your input please feel free to comment on anything you read here!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Disability on TV

So the world of TV is slowly catching up with the world we all live in and we are beginning to see more and more individuals with disabilities represented for our popular digestion.
Typically we have seen many wheelchair users depicted either people born with a disability (Billy Nugent, Legit) or more often using a wheelchair after sustaining some kind of injury (Logan, Dark Angel; Hodgins, Bones).

As reflected in today's society many shows are adding characters who are on the Autism Spectrum (Gary Bell, Alphas; Sonya Cross, The Bridge; Dr. Virginia Dixon, Grey's Anatomy, Max Braverman, Parenthood). And there are many more characters that while not officially diagnosed have fans speculating on whether they are on the spectrum (Dr. Temperance Brennan, Bones; Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory, Dr. Jeremiah Sacani, Royal Pains, Dr. Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds).

Other disabilities have popped up from time to time as well including
Down's Syndrome (Becky Jackson, Glee; Corky Thatcher, Life Goes On; Tom Bowman, The Secret Life of an American Teenager)
Visual Impairment (Auggie Anderson, Covert Affairs)
Hearing Impairment (Joey Lucas, West Wing; Daphne Vasquez, Switched at Birth).

What is interesting is that we are now seeing more actors with disabilities playing characters with disabilities. More importantly more often the disabilities is not the main focus of the show, these are real people living real lives (Christopher Reeves, Smallville; Katie Leclerc, Switched at Birth; Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God, West Wing, Lauren Potter, Glee; Kerry MacGregor; The Book Group; RJ Mitte, Breaking Bad). These characters are rarely the star of these shows though and are often guest stars or background characters.

Now however ABC are promoting a new show for the Fall which will feature a disabled individual, played by a disabled actor, as a main character in a show.
'Speechless', is a comedy based around parents raising three children one of whom has cerebral palsy is non verbal and using a wheelchair.
The trailers look great and Micah Fowler who plays JJ states, "I am honored to have the opportunity to play the role of a down-to-earth normal teen living with the challenges of cerebral palsy, and I am thrilled to represent the millions of people living with special needs."*
Look out for this show which promises to address the day to day issues associated with living with disability from both the individuals and families perspective.

Check out the clip below:


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