Speechless: Presented to Scott Silveri, 20th Century Fox Television, ABC, and the lead cast of the show (Micah Fowler, Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Cedric Yarbrough, Mason Cook, and Kyla Kenedy)
Since its debut in September 2016, ABC’s hit television series Speechless has been hailed by television critics and disability rights advocates alike as being one of the most important shows on television. The primetime hit brings the lives and experiences of individuals with I/DD to a whole new audience. Additionally, with a growing trend of actors without disabilities portraying characters with disabilities, Speechless is one of the first network television shows in history to feature a character with a disability in a leading role.
The show is the story about an average American family, including a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy who encounters many of the same issues that any other teenager does in their journey through adolescence. Speechless portrays people with disabilities on equal footing with their co-stars without disabilities, rather than being objects of inspiration or pity. The stories of this family are told in a way that is honest, respectful, relatable, and funny – a reflection of the show’s creator Scott Silveri’s experience as a sibling of someone with cerebral palsy.
Touching on a broad spectrum of issues, Speechless demonstrates to the American public that, given proper supports and opportunities, the life experiences of individuals with disabilities is no different than that of those without disabilities.