A Forgotten Audience

‘..Television is now a part of nearly every child’s earliest experience and a considerable force in shaping the way nearly all children and adults think about the human condition and human relationships.

In some respects, television shows promise as a positive influence on viewers’ perceptions of people with exceptionalities. Network programming and commercial messages are today breaking some of the old stereotypes of people with special abilities and dis­abilities, showing them in a more balanced and positive light.

More realistic and positive portrayals of exceptional children and adults might promote more hu­mane attitudes that could foster acceptance and inclusion of individuals who are in some way(s) not typical.

Regardless of changes in television programming, including increasing avail­ability of programs designed to stimulate more prosocial behavior in viewers, exceptional children will remain television’s forgotten audience until their caretakers exercise their responsibility to control the programs exceptional chil­dren watch.

Television, like all other mass media, is inherently designed around the modal characteristics of its audience; it is by nature the antithesis of attention to the individual. The authors’ concluding suggestions for the adult who may choose to control what an exceptional child watches are therefore of utmost importance.’

Excerpt from the foreward by James M. Kauffman, Professor of Education – University of Virginia ‘Television and the Exceptional Child: A Forgotten Audience


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