Disability Inclusion in “The Good Doctor”

On the set of the Good Doctor: Nic Novicki (left), Freddie Highmore (right) Antonia Thomas (middle)

(ABC/Jack Rowand)
Nic Novicki (left), Antonia Thomas (middle), Freddie Highmore (right)

Our guest blogger today is Nic Novicki. He’s an actor, producer, disability advocate, Founder/Director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, and Board Member of Easterseals Southern California. Nic makes a guest appearance in ABC’s The Good Doctor, on an episode that will air on Monday, March 9 – tune in! 

Easterseals’ purpose is to change the way the world defines and views disability. This amazing organization exists to make profound, positive differences in peoples’ lives and has been doing so for more than 100 years.

For the past 7 years, the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge’s strategy has been to advance disability representation in entertainment and cast disability in a new light. We are actively partnering alongside the entertainment industry to advance disability inclusion, break down misconceptions and stigmas, and make sure people with disabilities are included in front of and behind the camera.

Our work is paying off. In recent years, there have been a number of new TV shows that devote more airtime to giving dimension to disability and providing exciting new opportunities for actors with disabilities. Groundbreaking shows like Netflix’s Special, ABC’s Speechless and The Good Doctor have been leading the charge in hiring and featuring people with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera.

The Good Doctor in particular has been a great example of not only featuring a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome in a lead role, but also continually hiring actors with physical and cognitive disabilities as guest stars on the show. The show recently won the Visionary Award at the 2019 Media Access Awards. It helps that the writing staff includes David Renaud, a wheelchair user who can authentically speak to disability and often writes it into his episodes. I was lucky enough to get to know David through my involvement with the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and he was gracious to think of me while writing an episode this season. This Monday night I have the honor of being a guest star on The Good Doctor.

It’s so exciting to experience a real-life example of how Easterseals is advancing careers for people with disabilities in Hollywood, and how it is having a tremendous impact on the way the world defines and views disabilities as a result. The power of quality storytelling is its ability to influence, inspire and change people’s perceptions about who we are, how we see ourselves and how we understand and empathize with other people. Having the opportunity to be on The Good Doctor is incredibly flattering. It fuels me as I look forward to this year’s Easterseals Disability Film Challenge in April to ensure we continue see our participants get jobs as a direct result of the film challenge. We’ve had great success stories of participants guest starring on hit shows like Loudermilk and many exciting soon-to-be-announced projects, as well as opportunities to work behind the camera in film and TV.

This is an exciting milestone, and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure others like me have every opportunity in show business, or in life, to do and be whatever it is they dream.


“Heartbreak” – Dr. Claire Browne and Dr. Shaun Murphy treat a patient with a rare form of dwarfism. Meanwhile, Dr. Morgan Reznick, Dr. Audrey Lim and Dr. Alex Park treat a young man who had both arms torn off in a previous farming accident and Shaun reacts to an emotional situation, on a new episode of “The Good Doctor,” MONDAY, MARCH 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (TV-14) Episodes can also be viewed the next day on ABC.com, the ABC app and Hulu.

Watch a clip below:



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  1. Nicole Corrado Says:

    Great episode! What an awesome performance from these two very handsome actors; Nic Novicki, and Freddie Highmore!

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