Disability doesn't make these stories an inspiration

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Image: Sky diving Sarah and circus performer Sarah Houbolt (SBS The Feed)

Too often we see television coverage of “inspirational” people with disability who “overcome” their disability and manage to do “extraordinary” things, like climb mountains. Worse still, we see people with disability who are labelled inspirational for just going to work or catching a bus. The Feed on SBS Viceland showcased a number of people with disabilities who have viewed their disability in a different way and sought out to do ordinary things, like sport, hanging in the park with people their age or focussing on martial arts.

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You can help change disability attitudes

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The Attitude Foundation has a special focus on the portrayal of people with disability in the media, especially on television.  We know that this has a major impact on the attitude of the general population toward people with disability. This then helps improve education, employment and general attitudes towards people with disability.  

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Can TV advertising change disability attitudes?

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Image: Still from Maltesers television commercial featuring disability advocate Samantha Renke

Television advertising is all around us and the viewing evidence is that it is including people with disabilities. Advertising executives often regard their industry as edgy and breaking new ground, but the reality is that it slots people into carefully defined audiences and is focussed on selling a simple message in 30 seconds.

Our expectations would be that this is not a combination that is ideal for telling more complex stories or providing broader portrayal of people with disability.  Is that always about stereotypes that are easy to sell or have there been genuine attempts and breakthroughs to provide a more-rounded, inclusive portrayal?

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Not disabled enough: the problem with invisible disability

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Image: TV current affairs outs people who are not disabled enough to “deserve” benefits.

It’s important to have disabled characters on TV to reflect the diversity of society and to provide well-rounded characters that are not just solely their disability. But what if they are aren’t disabled enough?

 

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ANZ event supports drive to produce Attitude Foundation pilot episode

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Image: Attitude Foundation event flyer

The Attitude Foundation’s Founding Sponsor ANZ held an information and fundraising event at its Melbourne Docklands headquarters on 22 May as part of its support of the Foundation’s drive to getting the pilot episode of the TV series to production.

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Inclusive marketing feature of major conference

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Image: Toyota “before and after” print advertising as part of Integration Day campaign

The inclusion of people with disabilities as models and actors in marketing and promotion is slowly growing, with companies such as Target, Kmart and Aldi  featuring disabled models in catalogues.

 

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ABC TV show deals directly with disability stereotypes

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Image: Dr George Taleporos and Dani Di Toro from the Wheelchair Users episode of You Can’t Ask That (ABC TV)

The best way to shatter a disability stereotype is to let the people with disabilities do it for you. The ABC television series You Can’t Ask That provides a forum for doing just that.

 

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Disability on TV - the UK experience

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Image: Amy Conachan, currently starring in UK series, Hollyoaks

Ordinarily media organisations compete with one another, but in Britain they are collaborating because of their shared belief that media should reflect the richness and diversity of society, and provide opportunities to everyone to participate.

 

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UK panel discusses disability on TV

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Image: Where have all the disabled people gone? panel hosted by the Royal Television Society. Deborah Williams, Adam Hills, Rosie Jones, Shannon Murray and Ade Adepitan (left-to-right). Photo credit: Paul Hampartsoumian.

 

A major panel discussion on the portrayal and inclusion of people with disabilities on British TV was hosted by the Royal Television Society this month.

 

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TressCox Lawyers lends key expertise to disability TV series

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TressCox Lawyers is assisting the Attitude Foundation on its production agreement and distribution rights for the planned pilot episode and TV series featuring people with disabilities.

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