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The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur
North New Jersey: 973-200-6629
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Will new A&E series highlight or hinder people with disabilities?

As many of our New Jersey readers will agree, there are a lot of things we don't know about a majority of the disabling conditions of the world. Consider for a moment just the ones that appear on the Compassionate Allowances list. How many of the more than 100 conditions do you have considerable knowledge about? Probably very little, much like the rest of the nation.

It's because of society's naiveté about disabling conditions that we generally don't understand the full extent to which people with these conditions struggle. For many, more exposure to these conditions would help disband the ignorance, which is something A&E may be attempting to do with its series entitled "Born This Way."

For those of our West Caldwell readers who are unfamiliar with the show, the series centers around a cast of people in their 20's who all have Down syndrome. Throughout the show, we get a glimpse into their lives, including their struggles, to see how their condition not only affects them but their families as well. Though the show is considered "reality television," most would agree it does not follow the same conflict-filled model other reality shows take.

This does not mean, however, that everyone agrees with the airing of the show. Some feel that instead of bringing public attention to a sometimes debilitating condition, it casts the young people into archetypes that "ignore the complexities of having Down syndrome or parenting a person who has it," explains a Boston Globe article. Some even believe that talking about Down syndrome in a reality-show style setting discredits the struggles these people actually go through, boiling them down to nothing more than characters of a plot.

Whether you think the show will help or hinder those living with this genetic disorder, it's important to point out that the show has been picked up for a second season, which means the show may be reaching the public in more ways than we may realize at this time.

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