ABC Family has a new series about two families who discover that their teenage daughters were switched at birth. The girl who grew up with a single hairdresser mom and the girl who grew up in the wealthy home of a former pro athlete meet their biological families for the first time. It’s a very good show and one of its brightest stars is Katie Leclerc. She plays the bright, confident biological daughter who grew up with the single mother. And she is deaf, and attends a school for the deaf, though in the first episode it looks like she will transfer to the school her biological parents want her to attend.
Leclerc has Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear. She is fluent in American Sign Language. She has a dazzling smile and a glowing presence on screen. It is a joy to see the portrayal of a character who has a disability but is neither a saint nor a victim, and it is an equal joy to celebrate the arrival of a talented newcomer who has the skill and charisma to become a major star. The show has an appreciation of deaf culture and being deaf is just a part of who the character is. The excellent cast also includes Lucas Grabeel, Lea Thompson, Vanessa Marano, and Constance Marie. Don’t miss this show.