Freeform had The Fosters covering abortion, discussing the lack of lgbtq sex ed taught in schools, and the issues with the criminal justice system.
Then Switched at Birth covered the BLM movement, police brutality, campus racism, microaggressions, and the toxicity of questioning one’s blackness. On the same night as Cheeto Satan’s presidential address.
Y'all better stop sleeping on Freeform. They at least try to stay woke.
Everybody needs to go watch Andi Mack on Disney Channel because it focuses on a mixed Asian family. The main character, Andi discovered that her older sister is actually her mother, so we guess she got pregnant when she was young. This series shows how Andi handle this new situation. Also, her friends are sweet. There are a funny and carry boy named Cyrus who will question his sexuality and a joyful and sassy black girl Buffy who will deal with discrimation in schoolwith her natural hair. I think now Disney tries to create more realistic tv shows with good storylines such as Lizzie McGuire or That’s So Raven. If you like Freeform/ABC Family, you should watch it because it kinda have some Switched At Birth vibes :)
If you're writing a d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing Character . . .
Deafness and being Hard of Hearing encompasses a wide range of hearing loss, and d/Deaf/HoH people communicate in different ways. Whether a person sees themselves as deaf or Hard of Hearing is a very individual thing. Being deaf does not mean you can hear no sound at all, and very few people have this level of hearing loss. The distinction between deaf and Deaf is that deafness is an audiological condition, while being Deaf is a cultural and personal identity based on shared experience, language, and history. Not all d/Deaf/HoH people know sign language, and may use a variety of methods to communicate, which may change given the situation or whether they are speaking to another d/Deaf/HoH person or a Hearing person.
Hearing aids and cochlear implants are not like “glasses for your ears.” For the vast majority of people who need vision correction, glasses or contacts can help them see just as well as people who don’t need correction. But hearing aids aren’t like glasses–magnification of a sound doesn’t work in the same way as magnification of an image. Cochlear implants can help someone with severe hearing loss hear, but the hearing these implants provide is completely different from what a Hearing person experiences. These devices merely help a person with hearing loss hear better than they could without them, and what that means varies quite a bit from person to person. In addition, not everyone gets much help from these devices, and many people are not good candidates for cochlear implants or find them controversial.
Hearing aids and cochlear implants do not make a d/Deaf/HoH person Hearing. As soon as the person takes out their hearing aids or other assistive device, the challenges associated with their hearing loss are just as they were before. People don’t generally wear their hearing aids or the outer portion of cochlear implants all the time. This could mean they only take them out to sleep and shower, or it could mean that they only wear them when they most need them. When a person is wearing them, they are still deaf/HoH, and will likely still experience problems associated with that.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing people often hear better in different situations, and hearing loss varies widely between d/Deaf/HoH people. People who are d/Deaf/HoH may hear better in small group situations, when their conversational partner is facing them, and may have trouble with certain frequencies of sound more than other frequencies. For example, they made have trouble understanding conversational speech because most of their hearing loss is high frequency, but be able to hear lower pitched sounds with less difficulty. Other factors that can impact a d/Deaf/HoH person’s ability to hear something include crowded places with lots of background noise and walking on narrow sidewalks where their conversational partner is walking in front of them and facing away.
Lipreading isn’t easy or accurate. Lipreading can help a d/Deaf/HoH person understand what is being said, but it’s not easy and many people either cannot do it or aren’t that good at it. Lipreading works best when good lighting is available, the speaker enunciates clearly and does not mumble, and is facing the lipreader. Even people who are skilled at lipreading will still struggle with understanding what is being said, and have to use clues about context and word order to piece together speech. This can be exhausting to do constantly, and generally isn’t enough on it’s own. Not understanding what the people around you are saying can be very isolating.
Sign language isn’t a visual form of English, and there isn’t just one sign language. American Sign Language is not a a way to speak English with your hands. ASL has distinct rules that do not correspond to English grammar, and ASL does not correspond to the geographic locations where English is spoken. American Sign Language and British Sign Language are distinct, not mutually-intelligible languages, and there are many others around the globe. If your Deaf character grew up and lives in Russia, they probably use Russian Sign Language, not American.
You don’t need to write out the gestures and motions of a character speaking who’s speaking sign language. If your character is communicating in sign language, you may not be sure how to best transcribe what they are saying. Some people will translate the speech into English and italicize it to show that it is a translation. Some people will communicate the meaning of what was being said, rather than writing out any explicit dialogue. But trying to write out the actual physical gestures and adequately describe what a sign or string of signs looks like is just unwieldy and is rarely as clear as you think it is. Not only is this frustrating for actual users of the particular sign language, but most of the people reading your story are probably not going to be sign language users.
Avoid simultaneous communication in both vocal and signed language. Simultaneous communication, or sim com, is a system that people sometimes use, but it doesn’t actually make for very good communication. Hearing users of sim com will often forget to sign certain parts of what they are saying or will sign in the grammatical structure of the vocal language rather than the signed one, making their use of language inaccessible to the deaf/HoH person that they are trying to communicate with. Many deaf/HoH people cannot hear or struggle to hear vocal language, which means that they are getting no benefit from their conversational partner using both languages.