The Stories of People with Disabilities
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. It's an opportunity to increase public awareness about the profession of speech-language pathology, the roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists (SLPs), communication development and health, and more. It's also an opportunity to highlight how communication difficulties impact individuals. BHSM brings public attention to how we can support those with a disability, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity and access needed to fully participate in their daily life.
As an SLP, I've always loved hearing interviews, reading biographies, and watching movies in which people tell their stories, particularly those diagnosed with a communication disorder. Mass media provides a mechanism for us to tell our stories. It allows us to step inside someone else's shoes, to better understand their world through their experiences. No two stories are alike. While media can't fully capture and convey the complexities of someone's experience, it offers viewers and readers a momentary glimpse. It provides new perspectives and considerations.
When we understand the plight of others, we become more invested in making the world a better and more accessible place for everyone. The King's Speech, for example, inspired a generation of new SLPs. These stories allow us to unravel the complexities of the human condition, for we have more in common than that which sets us apart. In an interview on Nightline, Minnie Driver from the tv show Speechless, said it best.
"It's difficult for us to be told, 'look at this differently.' So what you do is make people laugh, and see them, and have them observe a family that lives like this. And then maybe their interaction with someone who uses a wheelchair on the street is different."
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, check out these movies, documentaries, television shows, radio programs, video clips, children's books, biographies, and more.
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