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Soaps and Disabilities

Currently, there are three characters on the soap entitled The Young and The Restless who have had to deal with disabilities. As is usually the case, Adam Newman, who was blinded when Jack Abbott’s seriously mentally ill ex-wife threw a caustic substance in his face, miraculously regained his sight. A few months ago, he regained his vision for the first time when surgeons performed an operation which I have yet to hear of anyone else with retinitis pigmentosa having. Too bad that Adam absolutely refuses to cope with blindness. He could have taught members of the public that screen reading programs have made it possible for people who are blind to make use of computers,making it possible for them to compete with their sighted counterparts, or that it’s entirely possible for young adults to master braille if they wish to.

With any luck, one of the remaining two characters will have to learn how to live life with a disability without undergoing a miraculous cure. That will mean that the show can finally take advantage of a golden opportunity to educate, which is what they should have done when Nikki Newman fell off her horse several years ago. Instead, she moaned ad nauseam about the fact that her life would be over if she had to spend the rest of it using a wheelchair.

Now, however, Jack Abbott is facing that possibility as a result of being shot by his mentally ill ex-wife, and Devon Hamilton might have to continue with his music career with a serious hearing impairment. Jack could be just as ruthless an executive using a wheelchair as he once was on two feet. Devon could prove that Beethoven wasn’t such a rarity after all. Each of them could prove that people with disabilities can contribute to society as well as their able-bodied counterparts can if only employers would give them the chance. And unlike Victor Newman, whose epilepsy and seizure response dog somehow found their way to the back burner a year or two ago, Devon and Jack could take advantage of the opportunity to show how valuable hearing, and service dogs can be in the lives of people with disabilities.

Surely, the writers of the show won’t once again be foolish enough to squander such a valuable opportunity, will they?


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