Disabilities in Action

When you think of iconic movie stars or television characters of our time, do any have a disability? Well that might soon change. We are starting to see a growing presence of persons with disabilities on the TV and the big screen.

The shows and movies vary from documentaries about the disability to reality shows to television dramas. Three shows feature a regular cast of people with physical disabilities. Most of you will know the first two: Little People, Big World and The Little Couple. Both shows follow the lives of real families with physical disabilities resulting in dwarfism. And although their disabilities play a big role in the shows, they are, at their core, shows about people and relationships and… life. Now you are probably wondering what the third show is. It’s a new series to premiere on June 5 entitled Push Girls. The show follows the lives of four women who live with paralysis in theHollywood area. The show documents the everyday challenges each women face, both physically and mentally. We will definitely be checking this one out!

It’s fabulous to see shows that bring awareness to what it is like to live with a disability. This is a great medium to challenge or change the public perception of persons with disabilities.

And then there are shows that don’t focus on disability. There is simply a character or a person that happens to have a disability. A prime example of this can be seen in the diverse cast of Glee. Artie is a performer in the show choir before he is a young man in a wheelchair. This idea can also be seen in Rolling Around the World with Zach Anner. This funny, charming young man travels the world with a film crew. One episode in and you completely forget the host has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. These shows are great because they do something entirely different. They reduce the stigma surrounding physical and mental disabilities and break down stereotypes. As a viewer, you don’t focus on the person’s disability because the show doesn’t.

Recently, a range of industries have begun to embrace accessibility and the media is doing their part by increasing access to images and depictions of persons with disabilities. This is amazing to see and even more exciting to think about a day where this will go from being wonderful to being the norm. Shows and movies will regularly feature people with disabilities because they are, after all, trying to represent and depict the diversity of the real world.


Other examples of persons with disabilities in the media include:


Do you know of other people with disabilities on the big screen? Love one of the shows we mentioned? Tweet us @mobilityforlife and let us know, hashtag #PWDHollywood

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Rolling Around the World for Change

27 year-old Zach Anner, winner of Oprah’s reality competition “Your OWN Show” showcases his abilities on his new show “Rolling Around the World with Zach Anner” (premiering on December 12). In season one, Zach travels from coast to coast in the United States, stopping in popular cities to rock-climb, bake, dance, surf, sail, and ski. Oh, and did we mention that Zach has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair?

“Rolling Around…” follows a very funny, positive, and authentic young man traveling the world and having an amazing adventure. Zach wanted to challenge himself and not be challenged by his disability. “I am so many things before I am a person in a wheelchair. Get to know the person. The chair is incidental.” This young man is following his dream and he hopes to give a voice to a population who really hasn’t had one.

Over the years, the media has slowly begun to give voices to underrepresented populations or minorities. Zach is helping us to take another step towards inclusion by bringing an on-air presence for people with disabilities. Zach Anner is about to embark on a journey centered on the adventures and not the barriers. We hope that he will empower and inspire persons with disabilities to push themselves to try the “impossible,” because this man has proven that he is capable of anything.

We are always excited to hear about exceptional people like Zach and we cannot wait to follow him on this adventure. We believe that abilities can far outweigh any disability one might have, and Zach really embodies this idea.

“No obstacle is too big. No mountain is too tall. No volcano is too hot. No Atlantis is too underwater or fictional” (Zach Anner).

What will your adventure be?

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