Finally….. Television Inclusion

I love my television! I watch a little bit of everything from the news, Family Freud, The Young & the Restless, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Empire to Storage Wars, Bar Rescue and The Braxton Family Values.

I must admit, my television’s obsession has gone up a few notches since there are more shows on TV featuring people with disabilities! Finally, there are shows with people with “real” disabilities instead of actors and actresses pretending to have one. As a youngster growing up, I rarely found shows that featured people who represented the disability community and were like me.

There were a few television shows back in the 80’s and 90’s such as The Facts of Life that featured an actress with Cerebral Palsy. I love this actress who was referred to as Gerry because she had Cerebral Palsy and her speech was very similar to mine…plus she was funny. Life Goes On was another show I enjoyed. It featured a young man with down syndrome and many storylines circled around him tackling situations of everyday life as a person with a disability.

I’m happy to say now days there are many television shows featuring people with disabilities.

Have you seen Born This Way on A&E? Born This Way features seven young adults with down syndrome. What makes this show so infectious is that it’s real. The seven are shown just living life and although the challenges that often come along with having a disability, like moving out independently, love and relationships, finding employment and assuring their voices’ are heard, they’re able to deal with them and find solutions. The show also give the seven’s parents an outlet to express how they feel as well.

The Little Women series, Los Angles, Atlanta, Dallas and New York on Lifetime is also keeping me entertained. If you need a little dose of outside drama, watch this show. Although, I can deal with a little less nastiness among the women, it is good the show focuses on self-empowerment.   Although these women are small, they’re mighty, and still living life to the fullest. It’s also great to see how they handle parenthood as little people.

Finally, Speechless on ABC is making great strides for introducing an amazing actor with a disability. Actor Micah Fowler, who plays JJ, has Cerebral Palsy and paving the way for others with disabilities to be considered for acting rolls. What makes Speechless a breakout television sensation is the family dynamics between JJ and the other great cast members. All the episodes I’ve seen so far have a multitude of storylines that deal with each character. Most people with disabilities can relate to the storylines that revolve around JJ because they are real situations that we have faced. Speechless brings awareness to disability issues and is a must watch.

I’m glad to see more people with disabilities on television and hoping to see many more future. Now that you know what I’m watching, tune in and let’s have some discussions.


6 comments on “Finally….. Television Inclusion

  1. Debbie McBride on

    Shari, Great article as always. I know what you mean. I remember when Marlee Matlin won an academy award. I thought this is a start. It bothers me still to see people without a disability playing someone who has. I have a mini series at home called “Kingdom Hospital” it is a Steven King produced show. It has 2 young people with Downs Syndrome in it and they are a big part of the program. They have an important part. I am so glad that things are starting to change a little for the better. Thank you.

  2. Melissa Fowler on

    I miss talking TV and everything else with you! I’m still waiting for Hollywood to get a realistic portrayal of autism, though Sesame Street has them all beat. <3

    • Shari Cooper on

      I miss you and our chats too Melissa. You’re right, Sesame Street has Hollywood beat when it comes to autism awareness. Just wait until my talk show comes to pass. I’ll then show disability awareness at its best and you can be my hype assistant!


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