‘The Miracle Worker’ Showed Movies and TV Can Change How the World Sees Disability — for Better or Worse

‘The Miracle Worker’ Showed Movies and TV Can Change How the World Sees Disability — for Better or Worse
When you grow up disabled, the names of other disabled or Deaf icons are always running through your mind — Helen Keller being one of the mainstays. Whether one is actually deaf or not, any perceived limitation causes someone to bring up the author and disability rights advocate, for good and ill.

My earliest memories of Keller come from the place I’ve loved and chosen to cover for my career: the movie screen. Patty Duke’s Oscar nominated performance in 1962’s “The Miracle Worker” wasn’t the first movie about a disabled person I saw, but it was the most ubiquitous.

It’s an image that has become ingrained in nearly all discussions of disability representation on-screen. Despite the fact that 1 in 4 people in the United States have some form of disability, they only make up about 3.1 percent of on-screen portrayals, which is actually a 10-year high according to GLAAD.
See full article at Indiewire »

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