Netflix’s Special Is A Perfectly Imperfect Portrayal Of Disability & All That Comes With It
Despite all that I appreciate about
Special, there are a few worrying messages being sent to younger viewers with disabilities. Though in his late 20s, Ryan appears to have no real friends prior to the ones he meets at the start of the series.The emotional implications of the fact that Ryan’s first sexual experience is with a paid sex worker (though he is remarkably gentle and kind) also go unexplored, as does the concept of
disability settlement money —which people can receive if they sue doctors or hospitals after the birth of a child. The show contains passing reference to the fact that Ryan has this money, but the complicated realities, both emotional and otherwise, are not discussed.