1. Parenting

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Reader Reviews: Review a TV Show With a Disability-Related Plotline

User Rating 5 Star Rating

By yayaman

Special-Needs TV Show

Name of Show: 

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Date of Review: 


My Review 

I have been watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager through Netflix, and it features a young man with Down syndrome.The typically developing teens are all a mess, the show focuses on the "sexual" side of high school life. The main character, a sweet, girl who is in the school band and not particularly popular, gets pregnant from a one-night stand with the school bad-boy -- who is charming, witty, and oh so sexually reactive due to his own abuse history. The young man with Down Syndrome, Tom, is the most level-headed character in the whole show! He is intuitive, insightful, and "cuts to the chase" with his truthfulness. He becomes the friend of all the people in the show, he takes on many challenges that would emotionally deter most people. I find this show interesting as this is a good, positive role model of a character with a disability -- and the actor actually HAS the disability. And it makes me feel a bit better about having a 17 year old son with Cerebral Palsy and cognitive delays -- he's not going to get someone pregnant, he's not drinking and drugging, driving too fast, getting piercings -- he is just my boy -- sweet, happy, innocent and lover of all of life's little everyday miracles. Gotta embrace the blessing of parenting our kids as they come!:)

Is there a particular episode you recommend? 

It is a pretty interesting show all around. Start with the pilot so you know what is going on and the complex relationships. I feel this show presents a positive role model of how parents could respond to their teens in rational, responsible, loving, but firm ways.

Is there a particular episode you have concerns over? 

Not really. There is a lot of acceptance of what is -- "yes I am upset, yes this is hard, but together we will help you get through it."

How could the show improve? 

Overall I am pleased with the writing and direction of the show. good character development. keep character evolving, growing and changing.

What stories would you like to see this show do? 

So far, so good

Would you recommend this to a friend? 


Terri Mauro, About.com Children With Special Needs, says:

You can read more about The Secret Life of the American Teenager on its ABC Family site. Tom is played by Luke Zimmerman, who is a student at Performing Arts Studio West, which provides training for performers with developmental disabilities.

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