I was super excited when I first started seeing previews of some of the summer programs for ABC Family. Of particular interest to me is the show "Switched at Birth."
"Switched at Birth" showcases the challenges of the Deaf culture and integration in the hearing community through the merger of two families brought together by the fact that their teenage daughters were switched at birth. Daphne and Bay. Daphne (Katie Leclerc) had meningitis which led to a hearing loss. She reads lips and uses sign language when she communicates. Bay (Vanessa Marano) is a "goth" girl similar to Ashley Jergens from "The Secret Life of an American Teenager."
The show brings both girls together as Bay had decided that she wanted to know why she was so different than the family she grew up with and DNA showed that she was not who she thought she was because she had been switched at birth.
The show also highlights the challenges that the Deaf can face as they try to live in a world of hearing people through the story of Emmett (Sean Berdy). As Bay and Daphne adjust to the fact that they come from completely different backgrounds that have now become interwoven, both girls and both families, as well as their many friends from their different schools, find themselves having to learn about a culture that is completely different than they are used to. The family Bay grew up with is well-off and athletic. The family Daphne grew up with is broken, not as well-off and artistic. Bay attends a hearing school that is a prestigious magnet school. Daphne attends a school for the Deaf.
The show does an excellent job of incorporating sign language and captions as well for those who are interested in the whole experience of it.
I honestly hope that it proves to be successful as I would love to see this concept play out even further on more channels. This is truly a unique approach to an area that often has little exposure in the mass media.