ABC has a new show this year called “Speechless”. This show showcases the life of a family with a special needs child. My husband and I watched the first episode together and couldn’t stop laughing, but it was also painful. Painful because it is so very real and lifelike for our family. It was hard to watch that being portrayed.
A month or two after it started, R (9 years old), decided to watch an episode with me. She was hooked. I asked her why she liked it so much. Her first response was that it was funny. (It doesn’t have Minnie Driver in it for nothing.) But it also has helped her see other kids dealing with a sibling’s issues. It has helped us have difficult conversations as it has given us a scenario to be able to safely discuss issues. It helps make her life feel more normalized. This has been a very valuable piece of the puzzle in helping her learn to cope with the life she experiences. It doesn’t begin to answer or solve all the things she gets to deal with as a sister of a child with special needs but it’s a start.
I hope that ABC continues to produce shows like Speechless, and formerly Switched at Birth. These don’t glorify special needs like other shows (the ones that come to mind are shows that show autistic children having almost magical powers), but instead, offer real insight into the lives of families that deal with these issues.