The Silent Child is a short film directed by Chris Overton and written by Rachel Shenton. It was released in 2017, and revolves around the life of a four-year-old deaf girl, Libby who lives a solitary and silent life until a social worker intervenes and helps her to use sign language as means of communication. Libby's character highlights the representation, framing and complication of deaf people in film.
According to the movie The Silent Child, it highlights how deaf children suffer when they attend mainstream schools. Libby is the only deaf child in her entire family, and her parents decide to take her to a mainstream school that does not offer any form of special assistance to children who suffer from her disability. As seen from the film, Libby is taken to a class with children of her age; she is seen sitting alone and staring at the teacher as the other children continue with their school work. Through this, it is an indication of how so many issues go unnoticed just because of her choosing to remain silent due to her disability. Libby's teacher does not understand her condition, and she does not make any effort to try and find out why the child is not fully participating as the other children. The Silent Child highlights how the educational sector does not fully support the deaf people. Mainstream school should have unique education teaching strategies for children with hearing disabilities such as using sign language. The representation of the deaf people from the film is that they cannot learn for they have some form of difficulty. Nevertheless, as seen from the social worker Joanne's efforts in assisting Libby, a deaf child can do the same things as a child who has all the hearing capabilities with the right support. However, from the film, it shows how the educational sector is failing the deaf children by not providing them with the necessary life skills as a result of their disability.
In most films, the characters used in playing roles of people with disabilities are non-disabled. However, in the movie The Silent Child, the directors went ahead and decided to use a real profoundly character to play the role of Libby (Maisie Sly). Most of the films have over the years cast out disabled people in playing the roles of characters who have certain special conditions. Members of the disabled community have for many years asked for chances to feature in such roles, and with The Silent Child, it has fulfilled their dreams. Libby does not in any way represent the people from the group in negative manner. Libby's role improves the quality and authenticity of the film for it highlights the issues and actual issues the deaf people have to undergo on a day to day basis. Her parents are reluctant in seeking a more specialized educational platform for Libby for they consider the sign language as being alien. As seen in the case of Sue, Libby's mother, she decided to focus much of her efforts on Libby's other siblings for they have more thriving talents. Libby's father is also seen telling Joanne "We do not have high expectations." It is an indication of how parents contribute towards not offering their deaf children a platform to improve their lives.
The Silent Child highlights a genuine emotional story to try and bring forward a much broader issue that is affecting the deaf people. The film tries to shows that being deaf is not a life-threatening form of disability. Libby does not in any way negatively represent the deaf people; instead, she tries to show that given the right educational platform, the deaf people have not difference to those who can hear. The only difference is that they are silent.
The Silent Child. (2017). Retrieved from https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zmUyjyj43U
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