To the Creators of ‘Born This Way,’ From a Person With a Disability


On December 7, 2015, A&E premiered “Born This Way,” a reality show focusing on young adults who have Down syndrome. Here is an open letter I wrote to the creators and producers:

Dear A&E,

Thank you.

Thank you for taking me inside the lives of seven people with Down syndrome.

Thank you for showing the struggles of a person with special needs.

Thank you for showing that others with special needs can live normal lives.

Scene from the new A&E reality series, “Born This Way.” Photo by Adam Taylor, courtesy of A&E.
Scene from the new A&E reality series, “Born This Way.” Photo by Adam Taylor, courtesy of A&E.

Thank you for showing that some people with disabilities have a hard time accepting our diagnoses.

Thank you for showing the amazing community people with disabilities have.

Thank you for giving multiple perspectives of what it’s like to live with a disability.

Thank you for showing the reality of what it’s like to grow up with a disability.

Thank you for showing you can be “high-functioning” with a disability.

Thank you for showing the love between someone with a disability and their parents.

Thank you for showing people with disabilities can make friends.

Thank you for showing me people with disabilities can have a job.

Thank you for showing me people with disabilities can have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Thank you for showing me people with disabilities can get married.

Thank you for breaking the stigma attached to having a disability.

Thank you for being curious enough to go inside the lives of people with disabilities.

Thank you for showing me people with disabilities are not anything to be afraid of.

Thank you for showing all seven people with different personalities.

Thank you for showing the concerns of parents with having a young adult with a disability.

Thank you for giving me hope that I can live a normal life, too.

Thank you for showing me no one is alone when they have a disability.

What you may not know about me is that I have multiple disabilities, and I also serve young adults with disabilities at my church. Your show has given me insight into what it’s like to have Down syndrome. I thank you for that. Also, as a person with a disability it’s nice to see that our culture is becoming more accepting of others who are different from them. This show is everything I would want to others to see about what its like to live with a disability.

Thank you again.

I love your new show and will definitely watch all episodes.

Emily Wachter.1-001

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