The award-winning ABC Family drama Switched at Birth will produce an episode told entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), which is a first for a scripted series on mainstream television.
The special episode will be told from the perspective of the series’ multiple deaf characters – with open captions for hearing viewers – in a storyline that puts the audience in the middle of a student uprising in which the very essence of their deaf identity is at stake. ‘Switched at Birth’ is the first mainstream TV series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in ASL.
Series creator and executive producer Lizzy Weiss had this to share about the episode that is set to air on Monday, March 4, “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 premise of ‘Switched at Birth’ focuses on Bay Kinnish (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc), two teenagers who discover they were switched at birth, being raised by two very different families: one a very affluent Caucasian family and the other a poor Latino single mother, working hard to raise a deaf daughter. The rest of the cast includes Constance Marie, Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel, Sean Berdy and Gilles Marini as well Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin in a recurring role.
The next new episode of ‘Switched at Birth’, now in its second season, will air on ABC Family this coming Monday, January 21 at 8/7c; and, again, this special all-ASL episode will air on March 4 at 8/7c.