There is a new series airing on A&E called Born This Way. It is described as a "docu-series" about 7 adults who have Down syndrome. I think it is more like a reality series than a documentary because it isn't so much a documentary about Down syndrome as it is a peek in to the lives of these specific 7 adults.
Last night was the 3rd episode and I've yet to watch a single one; but I do plan to catch up on this series of 6 episodes (and you can watch - for free! - the episodes on A&E). Ep 1: Up Syndrome, Ep 2: What's Normal? and Ep 3: Dream Makers.
After the first episode I saw quite a few conversation threads on social media with some negative reviews being that A&E only found "high-functioning" adults with Down syndrome for this series and they were "Down syndrome superstars" or "cream of the crop". I wish there didn't have to be such a divide in the community over something like this. As I said, I haven't watched the episodes yet so I don't have an opinion on the actual show yet, but one of the cast members - Sean - is the subject of a book his mom wrote (that I reviewed - Who's The Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion) and his mom has reiterated that he is not what one would label "high-functioning" and the negativity surrounding the adults who were cast is unwarranted. She has pointed out that (if I remember correctly) they all live at home except one who is in a group home.
I've heard that they are all very well spoken and I might feel a twinge of jealousy watching that as I wish Kayla's speech was more well-rounded and that she had the conversational skills to advocate for herself.
Overall I think this sounds like an interesting series and definitely one that hasn't been done before - this isn't something society has seen. From what I've read so far the producers seem to have done a good job of being respectful of the individuals and not exploiting them. I'm looking forward to taking some time to watch and get a peek into their lives.
A cast member, John, had this to say, "I'm here. I'm alive. I'm human." People with Down syndrome and other disabilities have a voice and it needs to be heard.
If you've been watching this series what do you think about it so far?