A new TV sitcom called Speechless debuts in the fall of this year. Its plot centres around a family with three children, the oldest of whom has cerebral palsy, is nonverbal, and communicates with an alternative communication system. JJ Dimeo will be played by Micah Fowler, a young actor with cerebral palsy, and his mother Maya will be played by the well-known British actress Minnie Driver.
The character of Maya is a relentless advocate for her oldest son, sometimes to the embarrassment of all her children, and she is dedicated to improving the inclusivity and accessibility of his schools. In the pilot episode, the family moves to a new house in a new neighbourhood and Maya and JJ work to secure a support worker for JJ who can “be his voice” at school.
From the trailer, it seems that issues related to disability are treated with respect as well as humour in the show. Hopefully the show’s writers will be able to tread carefully and showcase accessibility and inclusivity in a way that is both entertaining and authentic.