Life is busy. It’s not always easy for couples to find uninterrupted time to sit down, relax and watch television together.  

With our crazy life, internet television brings convenience to a whole new level. 

In a time where there is so much negative media in the world, and rubbish on the screen, we’ve found two programs that absolutely get it right with us; they are a MUST WATCH every week.  “Speechless” and “The Good Doctor” are a breath of fresh air in our household.  As they highlight the many facets of living with disabilities, we hold the writers and creators in high regard.

“Speechless” depicts a family that struggles with adversity, while finding humor and celebrating the simple joys in life, in the midst of it all. 

Time and again, we have found scenes from the show relatable to our life. 

My favorite aspect of the show is that one of the siblings, J.J. DiMeo, is played by a talented young actor who has a real-life diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. 

The program hits on honest issues that special needs parents face; toileting transfers, school inclusion, physical therapy, broken wheelchairs and non-verbal communication have all struck a familiar chord.

Despite any hardships that the TV family faces, love and laughter are always present at the forefront of it all. 

With a stay-at-home mother, they live on a very tight budget, as my own family does. 

However, they manage to find creative ways to have fun together.  It warms my heart every week as it accurately delivers scenarios that families like mine go through, and embraces how we become strong and more cohesive because of them.

In “The Good Doctor”, the lead actor portrays a young surgeon, Dr. Shaun Murphy, who has Autism and Savant Syndrome. While he is not diagnosed in real-life with either disorder, his presentation hits the ball right out of the park. 

Thinking of my son who is on the Autism Spectrum, the character’s challenges and gifts are beautifully presented. 

The show doesn’t only emphasize the brilliant manner in which his brain functions and his encyclopedic memory that enables him to resolve impossible medical dilemmas; it also illustrates a darker side of Autism that no one wants to talk about.

The actor exceptionally brings to light the disconnection and chaos that occur during a meltdown. As a meltdown is an intense response to an overwhelming situation, in them, all behavior control is lost. 

Watching a recent episode, my heart was in my throat as the young doctor became overwhelmed; repeatedly hitting himself and then striking out at a friend. 

Although individuals with Autism are vastly different, there are some common traits that many similarly encounter. Problems with flexible thinking, executive functioning, communication, social interactions and sensory sensitivities are often shared across the Spectrum, and “The Good Doctor” illuminates them with precision.

When the character makes a breakthrough, or finds confidence-building success (in his job or in living independently), I find myself wiping away tears. 

I look years into the future and imagine my own son being a doctor, scientist or computer programmer someday…It gives me hope of him living a good life, doing what he loves.

While these television shows aren’t perfect renditions of the life of any family or any individual, they are refreshing. They may not be mirror images of our experiences, but they make us feel less alone in our journey. 

I applaud them for bravely and authentically tackling situations deserving awareness.  I hope that society will embrace them, and that more programs like them will emerge.

They go beyond entertainment, and bring enlightenment as well.

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