Does Your Child Have A Role Model?

There aren’t many older kids with disabilities in Max’s life. Obviously, there are older students at Max’s school. He also attends a Sunday program where there are some, and there is a girl in her twenties next door to us who has Down syndrome. But he’s not close to them and otherwise, my son’s life is filled with so-called “typical” people.

TV? I can name all the people with disabilities on one hand: Max Braverman on Parenthood, who has Asperger’s syndrome; Becky Jackson on Glee, who has Down syndrome, plus Artie who’s a paraplegic (neither of whom are actually disabled); Dr. Gregory House on House, who uses a cane; and Dr. Albert Robbins, M.D., on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, who has prosthetic legs (in real life as well). A recent report found that less than 1 percent of characters on primetime networks have disabilities, although it seems we didn’t need a report to know that our kids don’t see themselves represented on TV. There aren’t that many in the movies, either.

I’d love for Max to have a teen or adult with disabilities to hang out with for inspiration, so he can see the possibilities that lie ahead. Max does does have two great teens in his life, boys who come to visit him once a week through a Big Brother program. He absolutely adores them. If he grows up to be like them—nice, well mannered, good students who care about other people—I’ll be one happy mama.

But it would be so cool, too, if he had an older kid with special needs in his life.

Is there someone in your child’s life who he or she looks up to?


From my other blog:

Avatar and other movies with people who have disabilties

A thank you to Steve Jobs from a special needs mom


Photo/Role Model 

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  1. by Hilary

    On October 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I so know what you mean. I was 19 and in college before I met my good friend you also has CP. I’m 27 now. I was 24 before I joined a Disability Professional Women’s group where I got to meet women a generation older than me who showed me the possibilities just by virtue of living their lives.

    I’ve mulled over the idea of finding a program in my area, or camp where I could mentor young kids for precisely the reasons you lay out here.

  2. by MarfMom

    On October 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    We’re pretty lucky in this regard. While we don’t have a lot of autism role models for M, he at least has his dad and uncle who are both on the spectrum. As he gets older, we’ll do our best to help him seek others out.

    When it comes to Baby J though, he is surrounded by people with Marfan syndrome. When he was born and I could tell he was affected, I was grateful for my involvement with the national foundation all over again. From J’s birth, 2 of the teen boys I work with and several of the girls approached me online to tell me they would there for J as he gets older to help him navigate the sometimes very difficult journey of having Marfan. This summer both boys came with us to the national conference. J was only 7 months old at the time. He will literally never know a time he wasn’t surrounded by other “Marfs” and that is a tremendous comfort to me.

    Have you thought about asking any of Max’s doctors if they have a teen patient who might want to do things with Max occasionally? Or maybe something to consider as Max gets older?

  3. by Rachel

    On October 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I have one more tv example – Walt Jr on Breaking Bad played by RJ Mitte – he has CP.