Pages of Life

Using a Telenovela to Promote the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in Brazil

Authored by: Patricia Almeida

The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138884588
eBook ISBN: 9781315716008
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores how a television telenovela in Brazil, Pages of Life (Páginas da Vida), used a plot about a child with Down syndrome to further the discussion of inclusion of children with disabilities in public education there. Two mothers of children with Down syndrome felt that the best way to try to destigmatize the representation of persons with Down syndrome would be through television, due to its reach to most of Brazilian society. They formed the MetaSocial Institute in Brazil and had highly regarded directors create TV promotional ads and then a documentary in an effort to change attitudes toward Down syndrome. A telenovela writer saw the documentary and decided to include a child with Down syndrome in Pages of Life, with a story arc that included the child trying to access her local school. This Pages of Life storyline resulted in its Brazilian viewers learning more about Down syndrome and inclusive education than they knew before.

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