You can switch the TV on and the chances are that you will see a person with a disability. It is brilliant that finally after so long that TV is more ‘real’. I can remember a time where people would have to be perfect to be on the screen. People with disabilities such as Down Syndrome would be featured in things like adverts. I guess inclusion and acceptance has come a very long way.
I remember the first time Elsa asked me if the person on the TV had Down Syndrome. We were watching Something Special on Cbeebies. It made Elsa happy that there were children on TV just like her Uncle Rory and it made me happy that there will be children out there who will grow up with a positive image of Down Syndrome.
For a while, society was stuck with a negative image. The derogatory terms and the stereotyping. They are slowly disappearing, a new generation of acceptance. It seems that TV is helping, seeing a person with DS happily fulfilling their life just like anyone else. It helps erase the older outdated image. It isn’t just the people with DS themselves that are shaking it away, it is the celebrities and public figures who openly speak about their sibling, child, other family member or friend who has DS. People you wouldn’t even realise are now openly talking about how their life has been positively impacted in someway by Down Syndrome. Kit Harrington who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones talks a lot about his cousin who happens to have Down Syndrome and the same with Jamie Foxx, he has a sister with Down Syndrome. He has done interviews and just spoken about his life as a sibling advocate.
The more open we get, the better life for someone with Down Syndrome gets. The hate, the terms, the stereotypes. They will stop. TV and people in the lime light, they are helping disability inclusion and it isn’t just Down Syndrome. Any disability can be helped massively by just being shown on TV. When researching for this post I found a site that had the stats for TVs in UK households for 2018 so far. 27 million tv in the UK in 2018. It’s a huge number, it means that using TV can influence a huge amount of people in one go. Just showing someone with a disability playing the same role as someone without could change someone’s view on inclusion.
For a family with a new baby who is disabled to be able to switch on the TV and potentially see an adult with the same as their child living their life and doing what society said they couldn’t is life changing. It brings hope and allows them to stop feeling as if it is all bad.
For us as a family to see people we know with DS gain major roles in TV and Film give us hope for Rory. He can achieve anything he wants to and his disability will not hold him back. It is incredible that TV has changed out whole concept of disability and how we see people how live with disability everyday.