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4 Lessons From the Latest 'Speechless' Episode About Life With a Disability

I recently got a chance to catch the brand new episode of “Speechless” entitled “W-H-WHEELCHAIR P-L-PLANET,” and to be honest it has to be one of the best episodes of the whole series. It tackled so many important issues, such as representation of people with disabilities in film. Here’s what we could all learn from “W-H-WHEELCHAIR P-L-PLANET.”

1. Go after your dreams no matter what obstacles are in your way.

JJ has always been the type of person to chase after his dreams, but in this episode, he takes it to a new level. After his sister suggests he write a movie script about disability to get accepted at NYU, he creates a film about people with disabilities living on another planet.

2.  It’s OK to be afraid for your family members with a disability when they move on to the next phase in life.

Throughout this episode JJ’s mom Maya makes it very clear that she doesn’t want JJ leaving her side, because she’s afraid of how the world will treat him because of his disability. But the school principal reminds her that she has always fought for JJ to be independent someday, and afterwards she agrees to help with the film.

3. Share your real experiences with the world.

JJ and his family work extremely hard to film “Wheelchair Planet” at JJ’s high school, but find out later that his sister purposely didn’t record the last scene because she’s afraid of how different her family’s life is going to be if he leaves. After discussing what to do about the missing part of the film, JJ and his family have the bright idea to take the footage they have and make it into a documentary about their unique life.

Sometimes sharing your real life experience is the best story you could ever tell, because it’s thoughtful and genuine.

4. Be who you are and people will gravitate towards you.

Throughout the series, JJ never really liked being labeled as somebody with cerebral palsy, but in this episode, there’s a major change in his character. He finally embraces who he is in order to create an amazing film and get into NYU.

I think this is a lesson we all could learn as people with disabilities. At some point we have to accept who we are and embrace the obstacles we face in life as we enter society.

I believe “Speechless” is extremely groundbreaking for the cerebral palsy community, and I absolutely adore the show and the many lessons it has taught along the way. This has to be one of my favorite episodes of all time.

Photo via ABC.