Switched At Birth: It is all about belonging.


You may wonder how it feels for two young women finding out they were switched at birth, and dealing with their conflicting feelings about belonging in their own families and communities?

Having two infants switched at birth is a very rare occurrence. To learn bit more about this, go to Wikipedia link here.

Now, I am talking about ABC Family’s Switched At Birth starring Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez, a red-haired Deaf young woman living with a single mother and grandmother with Puerto Rican descent.

This premiere episode came out with a very strong start. Bay Kennish, (Vanessa Marano) was doing a biology project to learn about her own blood type, and found out that she was not genetically related to her parents. Eventually, Bay was able to meet with her biological mother who bears same resemblance as herself. Bay met Daphne for the first time, and learned that Daphne is Deaf.

When the Kennish family learned Daphne Vasquez as their biological daughter; John Kennish (D.W. Mofffet) made statements which appeared to be ignorant when he was trying to be helpful by “assimilating” Daphne Vasquez to the real world, as known as the “hearing world”. John Kennish thought that cochlear implant as a miracle device for Deaf, and convinced Daphne to enroll in a hearing school instead of School for the Deaf as a “deaf bubble”. All of these statements stirred all of the emotions inside me. There were plenty of examples of ignorance throughout the show.

Daphne’s mother, Regina Vasquez (Constance Marie) a mother who embraces Daphne as a person, not a deaf child and she signs with Daphne. Constance Marie is not ASL fluent, but the point is this character who signs to her own child! I would love to see parents of deaf children to follow her example.

The common theme of this show is all about belonging. That is the main theme.

Both young women knew they are different. Daphne Vasquez was happy with her family and community, until she meets the Kennish family. Same for Bay Kennish, who struggled with her feelings about her family because she looked and acted different, until she meets the Vasquez family. Everything changes.

I wanted to thank to the writers of this show who bring up the issues out in the open for the audience. Serious issues about acceptance and belonging, along with racism, audism, and classism issues.

I cannot wait to watch next episode! What are your thoughts?

Amy Cohen Efron

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6 comments on “Switched At Birth: It is all about belonging.

I thought it was meh. Way too heavy-handed & full of cliches along with obvious plot devices. Daphne’s mom is very likable & a good actress, & Sean Berdy was playing himself, so no challenge for him there. But the rest, even that actress who’s well known but whose name has escaped me at the moment, was meh. Granted, the script didn’t give them a lot to work with. I do see a glimmer of potential there, but like I said, it’s very heavy-handed.

A side note: I found the whole CI/ASL thing amusing. It’s like the writers just read the blogs & pasted in the arguments from us all. *laughs*

Didn’t watch the whole thing; Disney has a thing for long, long commercials. But my wife put it on Tivo so I’ll watch it minus the commercials.

There was a rumor that Marlee Matlin was supposed to act in this show.

For me the worst part was that they didn’t subtitle the whole show. I feel it really disregards the deaf audience. Sure, there’s closed captionons but if they’re going to caption spanish and ASL then WHY NOT spoken English. Sooo backwards.

I think the effort to include a program with actual Deaf actors and subjects that force people to address their own misconceptions about deafness is a wonderful thing.
I was disappointed to see the interpreter on the videophone (the one that was shown on “The Apprentice”) give his own opinion during the conversation. I hope this doesn’t happen because it is not acceptable. I agree that open captions would be great!

There is an option on your tv to subtitle everything. It is in options. I think that it is important for everyone to know that if they cannot hear, there is an option for that on the tv.
Good luck everyone.

This is a great show, but one actress seems old to be in high school.

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