On Diversity, Persons With Disabilities & The Media

I struggled for a while on April 2 with whether or not I would post something about Autism Awareness to my facebook page. I considered it for a few minutes and decided not to. Both my children are on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, so everyday at our house is Autism Awareness day- they’re not poster children.

I don’t mention autism to or even use the word “disability” with my children because that’s not what defines them. Sure, they communicate and process information differently. I do acknowledge to them, especially to my nine year old girl, that they are different, and that it’s okay to be different. Different is good. And when we see children who look like them, talk like them, act like them on tv, we celebrate those moments. I love the look on their faces when they recognize themselves as people who can and will accomplish many great things. I’m not looking for a cure. I don’t want to change them and I don’t want the physical world to change for them either- I simply want them to grow up knowing there is a place for them in this world, and to give them the room and the tools with which they can figure it all out- because they are capable of living wonderfully exciting lives.

maysoon_zayid
Maysoon Zayid- Brilliantly beautiful actress, comedienne & activist.

What I’d love is for people’s attitudes toward autism and other “disabilities” to change.

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I’m glad Maysoon is lending a voice to these ideas to the larger world so that we can stop and think differently about the how we view people in general. She’s very clear about how we can change our views on how people with disabilities are portrayed in the media.

The following was reblogged from BigThink.com :

“Outside of RJ Mitte, who played Walt Jr. on Breaking Bad, there are very few actors with disabilities who get the chance to tell their own stories on television. Actress and comedian Maysoon Zayid, who like Mitte was born with cerebral palsy, discusses her disability in this Big Think interview while also stressing the importance of positive media portrayals of people with disabilities. “When you do see disability on television,” she says, “we’re reduced to two storylines. Either ‘heal me’ or ‘you can’t love me because I’m disabled.'”

Zayid hopes someday soon television will make a stronger commitment to actors with disabilities.”

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