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Disney’s “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” doesn’t just have just one character with a disability, there are four characters that are all in some way disabled. You can pretty much divide their disabilities up into four different types: physically disabled from birth (Nemo), mentally disabled from (presumably) birth (Dory), physically disabled due to a traumatic event (Gill), and mentally disabled due to a traumatic event (Marlin).

I’m going to focus on the character Dory, who has a short-term memory loss.  Even though her short-term memory loss is a tragic and painful thing, Dory is a very happy person. She’s optimistic and brave. This may be partly because she can’t remember a lot of the scary things she sees, but it’s certainly not because she can’t remember that she forgets things. And it’s definitely not because she lacks intelligence. Dory can read, and possibly speak whale. There are two really great things here: being disabled doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be happy (we’re not talking about mood disorders here, and even those often don’t mean you’re never happy, and certainly don’t mean you shouldn’t be), and being mentally disabled doesn’t mean you’re unintelligent. (Neither does being silly when you’re a girl. Dory’s actually pretty great as female characters go, too.)

Ellen Degeneres is the voice of Dory in Disney’s, Finding Dory.  For Ellen, Dory’s ‘disability’ is why she absolutely loves the character so much. Ellen loves how Dory’s ‘disability’ has made her un-resentful, loving, pure, and lacking in hate and anger.  Ellen has spoken about having a choice to view someone’s perceived disability as a positive or a negative, adding, “maybe it would be more powerful to find that their abilities are what make them an awesome person.”

People with disabilities are not all the same, just like people without disabilities.  We all have different personalities and different abilities.

Parts of this article were provided by,


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