I'm glad that you were able to watch the episode. I only saw the last 10 minutes. I tried to watch it online, but our cable service has been bought out by another cable service, so I was not allowed to access it. I'll have to wait until the corporate takeover is complete. GAH! So irritating!
In the scene, where JJ's PT is instructed by Mom to heal the younger brother of his awkward gait, I found irony on several levels. Why hasn't the younger brother had PT previously? JJ has been having PT for years, most likely. Has Mom just ignored younger brother's gait, while focusing on PT for JJ? (And since I missed the beginning of the show, does the younger brother actually have an awkward gait?)
Mom was quite upset that JJ was missing his PT (which is completely understandable, considering how difficult it is to obtain PT these days). The PT was there, and Mom didn't want to waste the visit.
What the younger brother endures during this PT session should give him empathy toward JJ. I'm hoping that manifests in future episodes. The PT was over the top, based upon my experience. Enthusiasm is one thing, but criticizing and negativity is entirely another. She achieved the opposite of the purpose by causing a lack of self confidence in the younger brother, who then is shunned at school by the girl on whom he has a crush.
I can see some angst developing there, where younger brother looks at JJ and thinks, "People look at you and see a hero. People look at me and see a dork." That combined with, "JJ, I think I understand why you skipped PT." Teenage conflict.
I especially liked the scene where Mom finds Kenneth (JJ's aide) and JJ in the bathroom. It's very difficult to entrust the care of your child to another person, and you know that no one else will care for your child the way you do or as well as you do. I felt Mom's relief, when she realized that Kenneth knew how to care for and transfer JJ for that most important and personal need.
"What if something happens to me?" really weighs on Moms of children with disabilities and special needs. Also, realizing that Kenneth can handle toileting for JJ means on less time that Mom has to lift her now growing teenage son. We think about that too.
Since I didn't see the beginning, I don't know what the kerfuffle was with the neighbors, but I could relate to the ending, where the entire family explains to the neighbors that they are not like them. Perfect homes, perfect landscaping, perfect everything. Nope. JJ's family doesn't fall into that category. Oh how I can relate to that.
I actually told our homeowner's association 40 years ago, after numerous letters about my unlandscaped and unfenced new home, "My husband left me and my two severely disabled children. I work full time and care for my sons on my own. If you don't like the way our property looks, then we'd welcome your assistance in improving it. Bring your shovels, your grass seed, your flower seeds, some wood, hammers and nails, and your ideas and help me. I'm doing the best that I can."
No neighbors showed up. No surprise. And to this day, we still get hassled for "violations." We had to get a new garage door in April to avoid a lien on our home, and we had one month to do it. Everyone in our neighborhood knows our family, our history, and that our son is ill. They've all seen and heard the fire trucks and paramedics arrive at our home. The ambulances carrying our sons to the hospital in the middle of the night/morning. They've all seen the steady stream of nurses, therapists, and other professionals come to our home. But they don't care.
So, what I most appreciate about "Speechless" is that it is honestly addressing the reality of the lives of families with a disabled loved one. Not just JJ's challenges, but the challenges of every member of the family, as well as the family versus the community, versus the educational system, versus the ancillary care (PT) system, versus stereotypes, versus intolerance and lack of understanding of persons with disabilities.
This is an ambitious project, in a Golden Prime Time slot, giving voice to the entirety of disabilities. JJ is the catalyst for all of the dynamics in this story. It's not just about JJ. It's about everyone in his world. I find that to be quite informative and extremely relatable.
I hope that corporate take over is completed soon, so I can watch the whole episode!
Love & Light,