One of the things daytime dramas have diligently worked on over the years has been incorporating eye-opening storylines to bring different issues to light. Beginning next week, Days of Our Lives takes on the often misunderstood condition known as autism.
Starting June 24, James Reynolds and Renee Jones as Commissioner Abe Carver and Dr. Lexie Carver, respectively, begin a storyline that will take them through the challenges of dealing with autism.
In a story arc meant to last throughout the summer, Lexie and Abe learn that their three-year old son Theo suffers from autism. After recovering from the initial shock of the news, the couple endeavors to devour all that they can in terms of knowledge and information about the developmental disorder.
The inspiration to address the condition on the soap comes straight from the real-life experiences of new Days of Our Lives head writer, Dena Higley. Her son Connor was also diagnosed as autistic when he was three. Now a young man of 19, he has just graduated from high school.
“We’re telling the profound and life-altering story of a child with autism from his parents’ point of view – their pain, their struggle, and ultimately, their ability to find life-affirming hope in the midst of learning how to live day to day with this disability,” Higley says of the coming story arc. “This is a personal story for me, as my husband and I have walked in the shoes Abe and Lexie are now about to walk in.”
Bruce Evans, NBC’s senior vice president for Daytime and Drama Programming, expressed optimism that the soap’s approaching storyline will help viewers gain a better understanding of the disorder.
“I am thrilled that Days has decided to take on this very important topic,” Evans has said. “We are hopeful that this storyline will serve as a resource for our viewers, many of whom have already been touched by this critical issue.”
To make their presentation as credible as possible, Days of Our Lives has partnered with Autism Speaks, which is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization devoted to autism.
“This storyline realistically portrays the emotional trauma that every family faces when a child is diagnosed with autism, yet it also opens a window for viewers to see the hope and achievements that are possible as a family pulls together,” Alison Singer, Autism Speaks’ executive vice president of Communications and Awareness, said. “We are honored to work with Days of our Lives and applaud the show’s commitment to shine a bright spotlight on the autism crisis and its effects on the whole family.”
-Rosario Santiago, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of NBC)