'Switched at Birth' To Air All ASL Episode On ABC Family

The award-winning ABC Family drama, Switched at Birth, will air an episode produced entirely in American Sign Language (ASL).  Although Switched at Birth already produces episodes with some sign language, there has not been an episode free of dialogue, yet.  An all ASL episode will be the first of its kind for a scripted series on mainstream television.

According to the report, the all ASL episode will be told from the perspective of the deaf characters.  Of course there will be open captions for hearing viewers.

As for the storyline of the ASL episode,  the audience will be put in the middle of a student uprising in which the very nature of their deaf identity is at stake. The series creator and executive producer, Lizzy Weiss, said, “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”.

The title of the show gives away the driving force behind the storyline, but if you want a more in-depth explanation of the show, then read on. The premise behind Switched at Birth focuses on two girls who were switched in the hospital shortly after their mothers had given birth. The switched daughters, Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc) are teenagers when they discover they are not being raised by their biological families.  While Bay, porcelain skin and jet-black curly hair,  is being raised by a very affluent Caucasian family, Daphne, fair skin and red hair, is being raised by a Latino working single mother.  The deaf storyline comes in when the audience learns that Daphne contracted meningitis as a toddler.

Once the daughters learn of their biological families, they are keen to spend time with them.  The Kennish family invites Daphne and her mother, Regina, (Constance Marie) to move into their guest house, so the whole family can all be close to one another.

The cast also stars Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel, Sean Berdy and Gilles Marini as well as the Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin in a recurring role.

The highly talked about Switched at Birth episode is set to air on Monday, March 14 at its regular 8/7c time.

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