An Unexpected Shot of Diversity on Children’s TV

Scott TruaxA friend’s young daughter occasionally watches the animated TV show “Horseland,” which features a bunch of friends who ride at an equestrian school, work in the stables there, and enter competitions. Halfway through her first cup of coffee, my friend noticed that one of the characters was wearing sunglasses. “Is she blind?” the mom asked. “Yup,” her daughter answered matter-of-factly.

In the episode, Mary goes horseback riding with all the other kids, answers questions about her visual impairment, asserts her independence when everyone keeps trying to help her too much, and sets one of the other characters straight when they get downright patronizing.

Wow! Casual inclusion of real live (OK…animated) children with visual impairments in a television show. Apparently the character was just a guest appearance—a cousin visiting one of the main characters—but still pretty cool.

Can you think of any other examples of children who are blind or visually impaired being represented in pop culture? It seems pretty rare. Joe Strechay wrote a great article about the Impact of the Popular Media on Public Perceptions of People with Disabilities for AccessWorld a couple months back, but rereading it, it struck me that most of the characters mentioned are adults.