Because I want to see more of what’s different.
Eighteen-year-old Emma will be the first to subscribe to an up-and-coming YouTube channel or add that new Netflix movie to her queue, but nothing makes her more excited than seeing content that positively and authentically represents people with disabilities.
These days, she’s been binge-watching Love on the Spectrum, a Netflix series that follows young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as they fall in love for the first time.
“It’s a beautiful show,” says Emma. “It makes me question: ‘Why not me?’”
It’s a question Emma holds dear to heart as she also lives with ASD, on top of a rare mitochondrial condition called Leigh disease. This means that the mitochondria in her cells cannot generate enough energy, so Emma uses a wheelchair and experiences chronic fatigue.
Emma was diagnosed when she was nine, and less than a year later, she became an ambassador for Holland Bloorview. It’s no surprise that, almost a decade later, she continues to advocate for people with disabilities—especially when it comes to representation.
“If more shows like Love on the Spectrum happen and the stigma [surrounding disability] is broken, then we can get some really good representation,” says Emma.
When kids with disabilities see themselves reflected on-screen, the impact is clear.
“It makes me feel accepted. I think people will start to realize that they need to do more of this. It really helps to see different people’s points of view,” she says.
“I want to see more of what’s different, not more of the same.”