I would like to use my voice here on my blog as an open letter to the writers, directors and actors of the new sitcom on ABC, #Speechless.
TO THE POWERS TO BE AT #ABC NETWORK,
I was looking forward to watching your new sitcom #”Speechless” last week. You can only imagine how thrilled I was that a TV network was finally going to portray a family featuring a child with cerebral palsy. I was equally excited that Minnie Driver was chosen to be the mother. She has been my favorite actress for many years and I believed she was a good choice.
Let me begin my noting I wrote a memoir about my son Jason who was inflicted with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, Our Special Child-Jason’s Story. Although there were many parts in my book where I displayed some happiness, unfortunately, there were more difficult and frustrating years trying to get the best services for him. My life was real and I did not leave out my emotions of fear and frustrations.
I was disappointed that your network chose to make this show a comedy, very silly and unrealistic in so many ways. I do not appreciate you mocking a very serious family issue. You made Minnie Driver’s character quite unrealistic. I succeeded in getting the services for my son without acting crazy and making a fool of myself. If you respect people, you usually receive respect in return. If not, you find another route to get your needs understood. I did by getting help from politicians, nagging them with letters and phone calls, but always with calm determination.
My son managed to show his very funny and goofy personality without the ability to speak or use a computer. I love the boy in this show, in some ways he reminds me of my son.
Let me end by saying you may have created a silly sitcom that some people will enjoy and have a good laugh; however, I see it as just plain mocking a mother who has a child with a physical challenge and using the mother in a non conventional way to seek the best services for her son and going to all means to succeed, including ignoring the needs of the remainder of her family. This is not reality in my world.
Judith Iris Quate
Author, Our Special Child – Jason’s Story