Los Angeles, California, July 18 – Looking for a show to catch up on this summer? Season One of NBC’s New Amsterdam may have ended, but for people with disabilities, it’s a show that may have stayed too far under the radar in terms of disability representation. From major story arcs about drug addiction and cancer to including people with disabilities as typical characters and authentic casting and storylines, New Amsterdam has overwhelmingly been an example of best practices.
In “Anima Sola” (January 22, 2019), Maren Thompson (Marilee Talkington) is a patient who became blind after spending 9 months in the ICU after giving birth to her daughter years earlier. Thompson is treated, leading to her seeing again. Talkington herself is legally blind and she is one of only a handful of legally blind actors in the country to earn an M.F.A in Acting, although 99 percent of the roles she has played have been fully sighted characters.
Blindness is severe vision impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. It interferes with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person is legally blind when corrected vision in the best eye is 20/200 or less. Many people with vision loss are not considered blind but instead are considered to have low vision or limited vision. According to the CDC, more than 1 million Americans are blind and more than 12 million are visually impaired. [continue reading…]