ABC Family’s award-winning original series, ‘Switched at Birth,’ will produce an episode told entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), a first for a scripted series on mainstream television, which will premiere Monday, March 4 at 8:00 pm ET/PT
The special episode will be told from the perspective of the series’ multiple deaf characters — with open captions for hearing viewers – in a storyline that puts the audience in the middle of a student uprising in which the very essence of their deaf identity is at stake. Now in its second season, ‘Switched at Birth’ is the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in ASL.
‘I’ve been wanting to do an all-ASL episode since the series began, and the storyline we’ve been focusing on this season gave us the perfect opportunity. It’s an exciting, visual, empowering story of kids who are different fighting back, and it allows our audience to experience the world as our deaf characters do. We’ve been building to this for 39 episodes and we’re all thrilled to be the first to try this,’ said series creator and Executive Producer Lizzy Weiss.
The series stars Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez; Vanessa Marano (‘Gilmore Girls’) as Bay Kennish; Constance Marie (‘George Lopez’) as Regina Vasquez; D.W. Moffett (‘Friday Night Lights’) as John Kennish; Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, ‘Caroline in the City’) as Kathryn Kennish; Lucas Grabeel (High School Musical) as Toby Kennish; Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe; and Gilles Marini (‘Brothers and Sisters’) as Angelo Sorrento with guest star Marlee Matlin (‘The West Wing’).
Disneyland Resort this week began offering regularly-scheduled sign language interpretation at numerous shows and attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. As part of the Resort’s ongoing commitment to guests with disabilities, individuals have access to a schedule of offerings where interpretation is provided without having to make prior arrangements.
“The Disneyland Resort is dedicated to making the Disney tradition of rich storytelling available to all of our guests,” said Betty Appleton, who oversees the Resort’s guests with disabilities program. “Our new sign language service enables guests with hearing disabilities to engage with our shows and attractions in a whole new way.”
The new sign language interpretation service is offered at the following locations: Jungle Cruise, Jedi Training Academy, Storybook Land Canal Boats, “Celebrate! A Street Party,” “Billy Hill & The Hillbillies,” “Turtle Talk with Crush” “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” and coming soon, “Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular.”
The new service is available every Monday and Saturday at Disneyland park and every Sunday and Friday at Disney California Adventure park. While no advance arrangements are necessary, it is recommended that guests request schedule confirmation at least one week in advance by calling Disneyland Resort Guest Relations at (714) 781-6176 [voice] or (714) 781-7292 [TTY]. Guests who request confirmation are contacted prior to their visit and are provided a current schedule complete with a list of attractions, dates and times of interpreted offerings.
“I am deaf, and experiencing the sign language service on Storybook Land made the attraction much more engaging for me,” said Everett Rowlett, Disneyland Resort electro-mechanical technician. “This is the first time in the 28 years I have worked at the Resort that I have been able to fully understand the stories being told.”
The new offering enhances existing, complimentary services for guests with disabilities. Various sign language programs have been available at the Resort for more than 20 years.
Additionally, more than 45 Resort cast members have basic sign language skills and can assist in answering guest questions throughout the week. The Resort also has assistive listening and several types of captioning systems available for guests with hearing disabilities.