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5 Lessons About Disability From the Netflix Show ‘Special’


Netflix just released a brand new series called “Special” that follows the story of an openly gay man who is 28 years old and has mild cerebral palsy. Ryan is an intern at Eggwoke, an online magazine. During this series, we get a clear view on what life is like for him as he goes through obstacles and learns self-acceptance. Here are five things we could all learn from watching “Special.”

1. Some people don’t understand our differences.

At the beginning of the first chapter, “Cerebral Lolzy,” Ryan is walking down the street and a little boy riding along with his scooter gets scared by the way Ryan walks. He asks Ryan “What’s wrong?” Ryan tells him he has cerebral palsy, the kid asks what that means, Ryan explains and the kid screams.

2. We all live life in our own way.

Ryan is a typical 28-year old man who lives his life to the best of his abilities. He is an intern at an online magazine called Eggwoke and he has his group of friends, in fact, his bestie Kim works with him. Although Ryan has had difficulty fitting in society, he finds a way to make it work. I believe we can all find a way to adapt to our lives when we have difficulties that come our way.

3. You should embrace who you are and never hide it.

Throughout the eight-episode series, Ryan hides the fact he has a mild form of cerebral palsy from his new employers at EggWoke magazine. He tells them the reason he limps is because he was hit by a car while crossing the road. He even goes as far as writing an article in which he lied about getting hit by a car and becoming impaired.

Ryan found it hard to keep hiding the truth about his limp. Later on in the series, after finding out his article got the highest views in Eggwoke history, he decides to tell his co-workers the truth about his diagnosis of cerebral palsy. He soon learns that people couldn’t care less about the cause of his disability. His friends liked him for the wild party boy he was.

4. Everyone can be sexual in our own way.

Ryan becomes very curious about sex and being sexual. He explores that area by hiring a surrogate sex partner and it helps him find the confidence to be sexual. He also learns how to have a partner in bed and be himself. He learns that being sexual in his own shy way is how he embraces who he is as an openly gay man. Despite any challenges we may have in the bedroom, we all have different ways of being sexual with our partners.

5. Not everyone is truly your friend, and sometimes people will just be around you to see you fail.

In the series, Ryan moves out of his mom’s house and decides to throw a housewarming party. Ryan invites his so-called “friends” but at the last minute, they bail on him. The only person who comes through is his co-worker Kim.

Overall, there are a ton of things you can learn just by watching the series. “Special” is a show full of humor, laughter, and joy. I just can’t enough of it!

Photo via Netflix.