When we watch TV, we probably don’t see a lot of characters with special needs. Breaking Bad is an example of a show that has a character with special needs, but this is nothing we would put our children in front of. Rather we like to admit it or not, TV is now a huge part of children’s lives and can be very influential. Shows or movies should illustrate special needs, but these shows can be hard to find. We found five shows/movies that showcase special need characters and can be a positive influence on your child.
Recently, a new character has joined Sesame Street. Her name is Julia and she has autism. Julia is apart of a new program for Sesame Street that is constructed to spread more awareness about children who have autism. The other characters interact with Julia and show how to accommodate for the things Julia might not understand. This is an awesome show for children to see and exposes them to special needs. It illustrates that everyone is different, but everyone can still be friends. To read more about Julia and the new program, click the article here.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic that most people have seen. While it is never revealed what Tiny Tim – a character- had, it is shown that he has special needs. In the movie, he uses a crutch to get around. Some believe Tiny Tim could have had tubular acidosis or rickets. Either way it could be a good movie for children to watch to give them a little more exposure to special needs.
Bear in the Big Blue House is an example of a TV show that has a character with special needs. The character Skippy is a blind squirrel and demonstrates that blind individuals can still do and enjoy many things that people who can see do. This could be a great show to eliminate stereotypes and teach children that even though everyone is different, there are still ways everyone is alike.
One of the classic Disney movies, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, has a main character that is special needs. Quasimodo has a deformity in which his back is hunched. Deformities can often confuse children and this movie can be a great way to start a discussion of how everyone looks different. Quasimodo shows that special needs does not make him any less of a person by showing how kind-hearted he is.
A movie that might not come to mind is How to Train Your Dragon. A lot of the characters are missing arms or legs, but it is so natural in the movie that viewers don’t even give it a second thought. This movie is prime for illustrating that special needs does not define an individual. Children already love this movie and they may just realize the hidden message.
TV shows and movies are a large part of any childhood and can be a good (or bad) influence. A lot of them have special need characters that we may not even notice because it seems so natural. We want our children to see special needs on television to showcase how normal it truly is. We know that special needs characters are hard to find on TV so we hope these shows/movies get you thinking about more examples and can help find positive influences for your child. If you have any examples of shows or movies that have characters with special needs, please submit them through a comment.