These films and shows all include authentic disabled characters.
In this beautiful Pixar short, “Loop” tells the story of a non-speaking autistic girl named Renee and a chatty boy named Marcus who is assigned to help her get to her destination on a canoeing trip. The film explores themes of communication, understanding, and empathy as the two characters learn to connect and find a way to communicate despite their differences.
RAISING DION (NETFLIX)
“Raising Dion” is a sci-fi TV series based on a comic book and short film. It follows Nicole, a single mother, as she raises her son, Dion, who develops superhuman abilities after his father’s death. The show revolves around the challenges of keeping Dion’s powers a secret and protecting him from potential threats. In the show, Dion has ADHD and asthma and his best friend, the sassy Esperanza, uses a wheelchair and has a hearing impairment. Esperanza is played by the young actor and disability advocate Sammi Haney who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type III.
THE HEALING POWERS OF DUDE (NETFLIX)
Another Netflix show for all the family, The Healing Powers of Dude centres around an 11-year-old boy named Noah Ferris, who has social anxiety disorder, and his emotional support dog, Dude. The show sensitively, and with gentle humour, addresses the challenges Noah faces in social situations, particularly at school, and how having an emotional support animal, like Dude helps him cope. Physical disability is also represented as Noah’s friend, Amara, is a wheelchair user. Amara is played by teen actress, Sophie Kim; Sophie was diagnosed with Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy when she was two years old and has been using a wheelchair since the age of four.
“Hardball” is a homegrown TV show that burst onto the screen with a fresh and vibrant take on the world of schoolyard antics and camaraderie. The show revolves around Mikey, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy who possesses an unyielding spirit and a head full of entrepreneurial dreams. Set in the diverse neighbourhoods of Western Sydney, “Hardball” portrays the daily adventures, challenges, and triumphs faced by Mikey and his friends as they navigate the rollercoaster of pre-teen life.
RISING PHOENIX (NETFLIX)
This documentary provides a deep and moving exploration of the Paralympic movement, its history, and the exceptional athletes who have shattered stereotypes and defied odds. Through poignant interviews and breathtaking visuals, “Rising Phoenix” follows nine Paralympians in the run-up to the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and highlights the extraordinary determination and resilience of the athletes as they compete on the global stage.
Keep an eye out for… HOP!
We recently heard about a new kids TV show which is due to be released in the US next year. ‘Hop’ follows an eclectic group of besties whose comedic adventures teach pre-schoolers about embracing their own uniqueness. Led by Hop, an enthusiastic, empathetic frog with one leg shorter than the other, he and his quirky friends address kid-relatable problems with a healthy dose of laughter, silliness and adventure. Hop is played by actor David Connolly, the first amputee to perform in a Broadway production. Filipa the squirrel, another character on the show, is neurodivergent and dislikes loud noises and crowded environments. The young animal pals live in
a fictional town called “Fair Village” where everyone is equal and valued for their unique qualities. It sounds fab, so let’s hope it gets picked up to air here in Australia.