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9 TV shows with disability representation for big kids

Representation benefits all kids. But just 16% of kids' shows worldwide include disabled characters, and over 50% of those disabled characters were either the villain, or used in a tokenistic way to teach non-disabled kids a lesson.

That's not cool.

From Autism, to Down syndrome, to Osteogenesis Imperfecta, these are 9 shows for kids ages 6-12 that are doing disability representation right.

Madagascar: A Little Wild

Dave is Deaf and uses ASL. His sister, Pickles, is his interpreter. They're in almost every episode, and Dave's disability is totally normalized!

They have meaningful relationships with other characters in the show, have their own quirky personalities, and show kids that disability isn't bad — it's just different.

Watch on: Peacock and Hulu

Raising Dion

Esperanza, Dion's sassy best friend, has Osteogenesis Imperfecta and uses a wheelchair. She's a force to be reckoned with throughout the series.

Because people tend to overlook her, she can easily observe everything around her and uses it to her advantage. Throughout the series, she gets more confident and more outspoken.

Actress Sammi Haney has Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type III in real life.

Watch on: Netflix

HERO Elementary

AJ Gadgets has a thought projecting superpower, all sorts of cool gadgets, and is autistic.

He hates the feeling of wearing wet clothing, which he mentions in several episodes. When he is overwhelmed or happy, he flaps his hands. He sometimes has trouble calming down, and doesn't always understand certain metaphors.

Superheroes are his special interest, and he gets super excited every time someone mentions them. He knows everything there is to know about them, which is a strength.

The other characters in the show embrace him as he is, which is pretty awesome and exactly what they should be doing.

Watch on: PBS Kids, Roku, and Prime

The Casagrandes

CJ, one of Bobby and Ronnie Anne's cousins, has Down syndrome. He's super fun, and loves to play. He's the first character with a developmental disability on the show.

And he's even voiced by Jared Kozak, an actor with Down syndrome.

Watch on: PBS Kids, Roku, and Prime

LEGO Friends: Heartlake Stories

In this show, Jackson uses a wheelchair. There's an entire episode where he tries to help others, and it doesn't talk about his disability at all — proving he is so much more than just his disability.

The best part is, you can get the LEGO toy in real life!

Watch on: LEGO Channel, Disney, and Netflix

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Toph, one of the most powerful characters in the entire series, has been Blind since brith.

She wasn't always treated right growing up, but learned earth bending from blind animals by feeling vibrations, and became the best of her craft.

She's an invaluable member of the team, and even grows up to become Chief of Police — showing that Blind people can do anything but see.

Watch on: Roku, Netflix, Paramount Plus, Prime, Vudu, AppleTV

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

This show has SO much positive autistic representation. Some even have prosthetics and mobility aids.

For example, Entrapta has autism, which is clear from her first moments on screen. She stims, info dumps, hyperfocuses, and struggles to stay in tune with the people around her. She is specific about her foods and very literal, sometimes missing things in social situations.

One of the show's storyboard artists, Sam Szymanski, is autistic, and had a large part in making sure the portrayal was accurate and positive.

Watch on: Prime, Vudu, and AppleTV

The Healing Powers of Dude

Noah is an 11-year-old with social anxiety disorder about to start middle school with the help of his emotional support support dog and friends, including Amara, who uses a power wheelchair.

Amara, is played by Sophie Kim, who has Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. The creators agreed it was important to include disability representation in the show by casting a disabled actress.

Watch on: Netflix

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

This Marvel show's main character, Lunella, is autistic. It isn't really mentioned in the show, but the creators did confirm it.

Lunella is super smart and very good at figuring things out. But she struggles to figure out people. She portrays similar mannerisms to those with autism, too.

The first six episodes of the series will be available February 15 on Disney+, following the February 10 premiere on Disney Channel.

Watch on: Disney+

Have another show that should be on the list? Tell us!


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