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RespectAbility’s Children’s Content Lab for Disabled TV Creators provides education and training for disabled TV writers, animators, and creative executives interested in preschool and children’s television and streaming content. Supported by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, the Children’s Content Lab includes programming by New York-based production partners 9 Story Media Group and Silvergate Media, a part of Sony Pictures Television. The first part of the Lab culminates in an in-person Showcase.


Accessibility Overview

Kiah Amara, Event Accessibility Coordinator


Lauren Appelbaum, Lab Founder

Disability-Inclusive Content for Preschool and Bridge Audience

Maddy Mermelstein, Development Fellow

Table Reads

Ensuring Inclusion Behind the Camera

Nina Fiore, Development Fellow


Disability-Inclusive Content for a Young Teen Audience

Shannon Ryan, Development Fellow

Table Reads

Disability-Inclusive Content for a Family Audience

Cassie Palmisano, Development Fellow

Table Reads

Producer’s Note

In 2019, Delbert Whetter and I launched the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab to address a need to ensure more disabled content creators could be connected to employment opportunities. Soon after, it became my dream to create a niche Lab specifically for disabled individuals creating content for children.

When children watch content, they are constantly learning. With one in five individuals living with a disability, it is vitally important that disabled children can see themselves represented on screen, and for nondisabled children to see disabled peers being fully involved in community life. The best way to do this is to ensure disabled individuals have the opportunity to create this content, as writers and creative executives.

I want to thank Netflix for helping us make this dream come true. This Lab, supported by production partners 9 Story Media Group and Silvergate Media, which is part of Sony Pictures Television, will increase the number of disabled individuals being given the opportunity to work in this space.

A huge thank you to Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick and Kiah Amara. Without their participation, this Lab and Showcase would not have come to fruition. And to my RespectAbility colleagues – Eric Ascher, Lesley Hennen, Vanni Le, Molly McConville, Jacquill Moss, Leah Romond, and Isabella Vargas – whose support has truly enabled this Lab’s success. Read more about the production crew.

Sincerely, Lauren Appelbaum

Thank you to our Lab Faculty Advisors

  • Kiah Amara
  • Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick
  • Noriko Louison
  • Martine McDonald
  • Shea Mirzai
  • Delbert Whetter
  • Diane J. Wright

Thank you to our Lab Programmatic Team

  • Lauren Appelbaum
  • Vanni Le
  • Lesley Hennen
  • Molly McConville
  • Jacquill Moss
  • Leah Romond
  • Isabella Vargas

Thank you to our Lab Mentors

  • Skylar Apter, Nick Jr.
  • Ashley Brennan, Netflix
  • Marc Cantone, Nickelodeon
  • Yunah Chung, 9 Story Media Group
  • Jamie Cohen, Producer, 9 Story Media Group
  • Emerald Wright Collie, Silvergate Media
  • Kerry Crowley, 9 Story Media Group
  • Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick, Casting Director, CSA
  • Sam Littenberg-Weisberg, The Healing Powers of Dude
  • Martine McDonald, Outfest
  • Alyson Piekarsky, 9 Story Media Group
  • Michael Porvaznik, Silvergate Media
  • Brian Roberts, DreamWorks Animation
  • Dr. Nava Silton, Addy & Uno
  • Erica Spates, The Healing Powers of Dude
  • Johanna Stein, DreamWorks Animation
  • Mary Tai, Netflix
  • Diana Theobald, Warner Bros Discovery
  • Heather Tilert, Netflix
  • Melinda Toporoff, WNET
  • Yotam Tubul, Silvergate Media
  • Nicole Velez, GBH Kids
  • Kathy Waugh, GBH Kids
  • Delbert Whetter, Exodus Film Group

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