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Taking Time for Mental Breaks by Watching TV Series and Films with Great Authentic Disability Representation

an African American woman in a wheelchair posing for the camera, smiling

Tatiana Lee

Los Angeles, California, March 25 – I’m a person living with a disability. I was born with Spina Bifida, and I live in Los Angeles. Like many of you, I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. As of last week, my family and I are officially on stay-at-home orders. That means no leaving the house unless necessary, like for groceries and medical needs. This type of life is too familiar to most people with disabilities, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a difficult time. Some are self-isolated and can’t get the care they need. Having a chronic health condition makes you feel doomed to be in contact with anyone, even for everyday care needs.

I am very fortunate I have family that helps to keep me safe and healthy. It’s great to know I’m not totally isolated because I am with my mom and sister. That is not the case for many of my peers. It’s unsettling to live in a moment of constant uncertainty, especially during times of medical rationing, knowing that we (the disability community) will probably be the last to receive proper care. But we must remain strong and optimistic, and healthy during this time.

Self-care is essential, and it’s important to stay informed but try to find time for mental breaks. We can only take so much. Some of my favorite self-care pass times are bubble baths, reading books, and watching movies and TV. I have spent a lot of time cutting off the news and taking time to binge watch TV. With streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and more, we have access to so much more. Just yesterday, the Sundance award-winning documentary Crip Camp premiered on Netflix. This film, which chronicles the early days of some of the disability movement’s greatest civil rights advocates, comes at an extremely important time as people with disabilities fight for equal treatment, including that hospitals are not pushed into medical rationing during COVID-19. Watch Crip Camp on Netflix today!

Here are some other shows and films with great authentic disability representation I’ve watched to take my mind off of the chaos. Let me know what you think of these and please share what shows and films you have been watching that you recommend!

Meet the Author

Tatiana Lee

Tatiana Lee is a Hollywood Inclusionist at RespectAbility. She was a Communications Fellow in Spring 2019, participating in the leadership program to gain better knowledge and skills to be a more effective advocate in Hollywood for disability inclusion. Now, she helps represent RespectAbility in Hollywood. Like RespectAbility, Lee has dedicated her life to fighting for inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of mass media.

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