I am feeling a little better now, so let’s give this a shot ...
Nineveh Dinha, Fox 13 Salt Lake City - April 25, 2014
First of all, credit where it’s due … Fox 13 included an actual quote from Kaidn Shield. We heard a little bit of what the disabled guy in the story is actually thinking. Granted, it wasn’t so much an evaluation or personal opinion on the subject … it was more of a factual report on what he expects to happen at the Prom. That’s still a lot better than the heartwarming disability stories where the disabled person is a voiceless object.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s any way to cover a story like this without it coming off as condescending. I think what’s really missing here is some acknowledgement that there are bigger issues involved.
- Why, exactly, is Kaidn often “left out” of school activities? His mother says that his disabilities prevent him from participating, but he doesn’t appear to have any significant physical impairments, so is it social stigma that’s really at issue? Taylor Roberts is planning on studying Special Education and disability work … what is her theory? What would she do to improve disabled kids' overall inclusion in schools?
- Have Taylor and Kaidn known each other for a long time? What do Taylor’s friends think of what she’s doing? Has anyone made any snotty remarks or questioning of her motives, and if so, how would she reply?
- Does the school create any barriers, even inadvertently? For instance, do students have to have a date to come to Prom, or can they come solo and just have fun with their friends? That might take some of the social pressure off for all sorts of kids who for various reasons aren’t ready to “couple up”.
I suppose the reporter might have asked these or other substantive question, but there wasn’t time to fit them into the segment. It would be nice maybe to get a followup story that focused on the social forces that affect kids like this everywhere.