Learning Differences and The Media
The Media industry is very powerful, however when it comes to films about or includes those with learning differences they get it wrong in 2 ways:
1) They just name drop a learning difference to make the creators/directors/writers look like they’re being wide minded and caring.
2) They name drop the same things and forget that there are others out there.
I can safely say that throughout the Media industry Dyspraxia among others are forgotten or ignored. Many films I have watched have ‘name-dropped’ other learning differences/disabilities/conditions/etc. Sometimes it’s for character building and story progression and other times it’s just a cheap inclusion to make them look good. The problem is that it’s only a name-drop to ‘trick’ the audience into thinking that the director was being wide minded and thoughtful about others.
“This is the main character, she/he is strong-willed, good looking, has a pure heart, will save the day oh and he/she is Dyslexic! That’s amazing!!”
However when all said and done this kind of name-dropping doesn’t actually progress the story in any way. These characters who are Dyslexic etc hardly have anything that the Dyslexic community can relate to. In the end that kind of name-dropping can be damaging…people forget that it is a difficulty and so the reputation of a certain disadvantage is suddenly changed.
Dyspraxia hardly gets a mention or if it does it is never in the mainstream movies and even if it is explained then it’s doubtful that the character will do Dyspraxia any justice just like the other ‘useless’ name-drops.
It is the fact that due to incorrect name-dropping or no name dropping at all that causes people to base the entire world on the films they watch. You’re dyslexic? oh but bla bla bla saved the world using only a tooth pick and a stone and they’re Dyslexic and an orphan!
Dyspraxia? Never heard of it….oh you mean Dyslexia!
If the movie industry started to incorporate more of these disadvantages in a way that was both positive and still explained the difficulties then it can help not only make the film feel more real but many of the different communities can relate.