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Being You

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Being You TV Poster Image
Teens travel, meet thriving folks with learning differences.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Courage and perseverance are major themes. People with learning disabilities are smart, capable. It's OK to fail, so long as you keep going. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Interviewees are kind and inspiring as they share their experiences living with learning disabilities and how they manage.

Violence
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Being You is a documentary about young adults learning to manage learning and attention issues with the help of mentors across the country who have dealt with the same challenges. The messages it sends are overwhelmingly positive, although there are some discussions about feeling discomfort and shame about having learning and attention issues. Overall, it's an informative and inspirational journey that can help kids better understand themselves and each other. 

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What's the story?

From the creators of Roadtrip Nation comes BEING YOU, a documentary about a trio of young strangers driving across America to learn more about living with learning disabilities (LDs). Recent high school graduate Noah Coates, recent college graduate Stephanie Whitham, and Nicole Korber, a young woman starting out in the professional world, grew up with a range of learning and attention issues, some of which weren't formally diagnosed until they were in their teens. Now in the adult world, they question whether they will be able to function, succeed, and be happy. Together with a camera crew, they embark on a one-month-long road trip in an RV up the West Coast and across the northern United States. Along the way, they stop and interview people with a range of LDs who are successful in their careers and happy with who they are. As they travel and meet with people such as comedian Howie Mandel; UX designer Pete Denman, whose work includes designing and reworking technology for Stephen Hawking; and Evelyn Polk Green, the former president of the Association for Attention Deficit Disorders, they learn that regardless of which LDs they may have, they can succeed at anything they want to do, so long as they learn to adjust in ways that work for them.

Is it any good?

This gentle documentary takes an insightful look at some of the real concerns of people who have learning disabilities as they begin their adult lives. It also highlights some of the fears people with LDs face when trying to function, as well as the shame they often feel because they don't process information the same way others might.

The stories told by the range of interviewers and interviewees are interesting, and it's fun to see the variety of jobs and lifestyles that the trio of young people get to witness. This is a trademark of Roadtrip Nation's previous offerings: showing kids that there are many options and ways to find success in life. Most of the conversations in Being You underscore the same points over and over again, which isn't necessarily a bad thing; the messages sent about embracing who you are, and being comfortable with the specific things you need to do to reach your goals, are no less inspiring.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to live with a learning disability. What are some of the challenges people with learning disabilities face every day? Does Being You do a good job of showing these challenges. 

  • Many people, including actors and artists, grow up and live with learning disabilities but don't reveal this publicly. Why? Do you think documentaries such as this one might help people feel more comfortable sharing?

  • How does Being You promote courage and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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