Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Review of Speechless on ABC

10/13/2017 | Published by: Marty Barnes

I have been watching a new show over the past few months called Speechless. When it first aired, there were lots of reviews, both positive and negative, from the disability community. 

The first few episodes showed some fictional, perfect schools and equipment, and they touched on a few real topics, but not many of the big ones.

I thought about it and it made sense: If they had jumped right into the big topics and showed all of our messy truths, no one would watch it. The show was smart to ease in and slowly make each episode a little more real, and then deal with bigger topics as they progressed.

Of course, they couldn’t show everything, and probably shouldn’t. Here are my reviews of some of the shows:

  • They had an episode on public restrooms, and I was thrilled. They didn’t talk about the challenges we face in taking our larger children into public stalls, where the only place to change a diaper is the floor. Who would believe that, or has even thought of it? But that’s what we have to do.
  • There was an episode that talked about insurance denials and fighting for our kids. But because it was television, they could walk into the office and talk to the person that could override the decision. 
  • They had an episode where they lost their accessible van and didn’t have the money to replace it. I wish that they had shown trying to coordinate public transportation or having to find ways to get their child in and out of an inaccessible vehicle.   
  • There was a recent episode where one person got sick and the entire house went on lockdown. The sick person was quarantined and they talked about how even a simple cough is too much to risk. They focused on what happens if Mom gets sick instead of how serious something as simple as a cold could be to the child with complex health needs. 

I have very mixed reviews of this show. It is showing and talking about a LOT more than any other show has done. I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m glad that it is a comedy. If it were a drama, I don’t think people would want to watch it. It would be too real.

Speechless is a step in the right direction, and I think overall it is helping the disability community. Hopefully, it will stay on the air and they will get a little more real with each season. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, give it a shot. 

The Navigating Daily Life section of this website has great information and ideas.


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