Has anyone else been watching Season 3 of Switched at Birth?
Switched at Birth is an ABC Family drama that follows two teenagers and their families. The girls, Daphne and Bay, were switched at birth, and Daphne is deaf. I like it because it is a popular show in general, but also teaches lessons about how the disability community is perceived in real life.
This must be the season of the relationships because it feels like the show has created some kind of drama or controversy around all of the relationships on the show.
That would get old except that there are two different relationships in the show that portray what it is like to date someone with a disability: Travis (another deaf character) and Mary Beth, and Daphne and Campbell (who is in a wheelchair).
Two big issues that face a relationship involving disability are: discrimination and misconceptions about limits to activities that couples can do.
I am so glad that the show handled those two issues by bringing them out in the open and addressing them. With all the relationship drama in the entertainment industry, you never see these issues.
Sure there might be some things that a couple can’t do because of a disability, but having a disability also gives you a unique perspective on life. There are also ways to work around a barrier. Plus, even able-bodied people are not good at everything.
A couple of examples:
Deaf people can dance by following the rhythm through vibrations, or by following the lead of a good partner.
The blind can enjoy movies through audio, and even better, descriptive audio.
As for discrimination. You can get angry, let it go, or use it as a teachable moment. Of course, not everyone will be receptive to the teachable moment, but getting angry over ignorance (if that is what it is) is like hitting against a brick wall. It doesn’t solve anything.
People aren’t usually inclined to educate themselves about disability unless they’re required to for a personal, academic, or business reason, or if they’re actively interested in learning more about it. It is human nature to not actively think about something that doesn’t affect them. So, it is up to those experiencing it to educate the rest of society.
You can catch up with Switched at Birth on Amazon or Netflix. The spring season finale is this coming Monday, but the summer season starts on June 16. It will be nice to have new shows to look forward to when the others are on hiatus during the summer!