special needs netflix

Shows and Movies about Special Needs on Netflix

special needs netflix

Everyone has a Netflix account, and if they don’t, they’re mooching Netflix from someone else. So, we decided to make a list of films and shows that focus on special needs.We organized the shows and films on Netflix by the special need represented within it, including Autism, stroke victims, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities and blindness. If we missed any shows or movies, feel free to comment below.

Netflix changes out its content from time to time, so if you are reading this post past February 2018, this list may not be up-to-date. However, if it is a Netflix original it will be there. We’re also very surprised at the amount of features we found working on this post. When we started we expected to find around 5, but we found an astounding 18.


To read more about Autism, check out our Autism page on our site.

Bad Hurt (2015)


Director: Mark Kemble

Writers: Mark Kemble, Jamieson Stern

Stars: Ashley Williams, Karen Allen, Theo Rossi

IMDB Score: 6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Maturity Rating: NR, though contains drug and alcohol use, strong allusion to sexual conduct, some nudity and physical violence.

Runtime: 101 min

Synopsis: “Bad Hurt chronicles a family’s hopeful battle to stay together as personal demons and destructive secrets threaten to rip them apart.”

The film is transcribed from Mark Kremble’s play Bad Hurt on Cedar Street, where he wrote of his own intellectually disabled sister. This movie is a tearjerker so have tissues ready.

Autism in Love (2015)

Documentary, Drama

Director: Matt Fuller

Writer: Ira Heilveil (concept by)

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

Maturity Rating: TV-PG

Runtime: 76 min

Synopsis: “Autism in Love follows the story of four adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder as they search for and manage romantic relationships.”

This beautiful documentary focuses on adults with Autism in their mission to find love and understand what it means. It will make you question your own definition of love. Love and relationships are something that everyone struggles with, but for those who struggle with communicating with others, it can be a battle.

Netflix Original Atypical (2017 – )

Comedy, Drama

Creator: Robia Rashid

Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine

IMDB Score: 8.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Maturity Rating: TV-MA for Mild sexual references, mild profanity, and mild drugs, alcohol smoking.

Runtime: 8 episodes varying between 28-38 minutes

Synopsis: “Sam, an 18-year-old on the Autism spectrum, decides it’s time to find a girlfriend, a journey that sets Sam’s mom on her own life-changing path as her son seeks more independence.”

Riding off of Autism in Love, this Netflix original is a series that enables neurotypical people to better understand those with atypical thinking. Though it is marketed as a comedy (and is extremely funny), romance and family drama ensue. It’s a hard show not to binge.

Autistic person reviews ATYPICAL.

Louis Theroux: Extreme Love – Autism (2012)


Director: Jamie Pickup

Writer: Louis Theroux

Stars: Louis Theroux

IMDB Score: 7.7/10

Maturity Rating: TV-MA for Mild sexual references, mild profanity, and mild drugs, alcohol smoking.

Runtime: 58 min

Synopsis: “Louis travels to DLC Warren in New Jersey, an innovative autism school.”

BBC just has a special je ne sais pas with their journalism. Louis Theroux, a well established journalist, takes a close look at several families who have a child with Autism at different stages in their life. This documentary does not turn the cameras off when the tantrums start. One mother explains, “This is what Autism is.” Some families are more optimistic than others.

A Boy Called Po (2016)

Director: John Asher

Writers: Colin Goldman (screenplay), Colin Goldman (story), Steve C. Roberts (story)

Stars: Christopher Gorham, Julian Feder, Kaitlin Doubleday

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 31%

Maturity Rating: (MPAA) Rated PG for thematic elements and some language

Runtime: 95 minutes

Synopsis: “After his wife dies of cancer, an overworked engineer struggles to care for his son with autism. His son in response to bullying regresses into a fantasy world escape.”

While A Boy Called Po might seem depressing (as the plot deals with a single, widowed father raising his son), we believe the fantasy elements are very up-lifting. This is definitely one for the family.

Madre (2017)


Director: Aaron Burns

Writer: Aaron Burns

Stars: Daniela Ramírez, Cristobal Tapia Montt, Aida Jabolin

IMDB Score: 5.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

Maturity Rating: TV-MA

Runtime: 95 minutes

Synopsis: “Diana hires Luz to take care of her autistic son but soon suspects the nanny has sinister intentions.”

We were hesitant in including this one to the list, but it met our requirements of having a key focus on a disability, so we kept it. If scary movies aren’t you thing, maybe skip this one. But: the inclusion of Autism in this film makes for an interesting twist on the standard supernatural plot.

A Mile in His Shoes (2011)

special needs netflix

Drama, Family, Sports

Director: William Dear

Writers: Jason Koornick (screenplay), Frank Nappi (story and idea)

Stars: Luke Schroder, Dean Cain, George Canyon

IMDB Score: 6.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

Maturity Rating: PG

Runtime: 89 minutes

Synopsis: “A minor-league baseball manager (Dean Cain) recruits a new pitcher (Luke Schroder) who has Asperger’s syndrome.”

A family film with a focus on baseball, the only sports film on the list. This film gives hope for children with disabilities and can lead to positive discussion with your child.

Rainbow Time (2016)

Comedy, Drama

Director: Linas Phillips

Writer: Linas Phillips

Stars: Linas Phillips, Melanie Lynskey, Timm Sharp

IMDB Score: 5.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%

Maturity Rating: NR, sexual content

Runtime: 91 minutes

Synopsis: “A developmentally disabled man obsessed with the Fonz, guns and all things kinky poses a challenge for his arrogant brother when he moves in with him.”

A more adult film that can be funny (depending on your sense of humor) demonstrates overcoming hardship.

Asperger’s Are Us (2016)

Documentary, Comedy, Drama

Director: Alex Lehmann

Stars: Noah Britton, Ethan Finlan, Jack Hanke, New Michael Ingemi

IMDB Score: 6.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Maturity Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 82 minutes

Synopsis: “In this coming of age documentary, four friends on the Autism spectrum whom have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us” will prepare for one final, ambitious show before going their separate ways.”

Guys doing what they love, making some friends and making some jokes. Always a great project to see in the works. These guys just happen to be on the spectrum.

Wizard Mode (2016)

Documentary, Biography

Directors: Nathan Drillot, Jeff Petry (as Jeff Lee Petry)

Stars: Kathy Gagno, Maurizio Gagno, Robert Gagno

IMDB Score: 7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Maturity Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 82 min

Synopsis: “The life of Robert Gagno, an autistic pinball player.”

Reminiscent of The Who’s Tommy, Wizard Mode takes a look at one of the greatest pinball players and his journey into independence.

Stroke Survivors

To read more about stroke survivors, check out our Stroke Victim page our our website.

Netflix Original My Beautiful Broken Brain (2014)

Directors: Sophie Robinson, Lotje Sodderland (co-director)

Stars: David Lynch, Sophie Robinson, Lotje Sodderland

IMDB Score: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

Maturity Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 86 min

Synopsis: “Lotje Sodderland journeys into her own brain to recover and rehabilitate after a hemorrhagic stroke leaves her unable to communicate.”

Netflix Original Ram Dass, Going Home (2017)

Documentary, Short

Director: Derek Peck

IMDB Rating: 9.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

Maturity Rating: N/A

Runtime: 86 min

Synopsis: “Spiritual teacher and ‘60s icon Ram Dass meditates on life and death at home on Maui 20 years after suffering a life-altering stroke.”

Cerebral Palsy

To find out more about cerebral palsy, check out the Cerebral Palsy page on our website.

My Left Foot (1989)

Biography, Drama

Director: Jim Sheridan

Writers: Shane Connaughton (screenplay), Jim Sheridan (screenplay), Christy Brown (book)

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

Maturity Rating: R for some violence including disturbing images, language and a brief image of graphic nudity.

Runtime: 86 min

Synopsis: “Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy, learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot.”

Margarita with a Straw (2014)


Directors: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar (co-director)

Writers: Shonali Bose (story, screenplay and dialogue), Atika Chohan (hindi dialogue), and Nilesh Maniyar (co-writer)

Stars: Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%

Maturity Rating: NR

Runtime: 100 min

Synopsis: “Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy, learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot.”


To learn more about blindness, check out the Blindness page on our website.

Best and Most Beautiful Things (2016)


Director: Garrett Zevgetis

Stars: Michael Roche, Julie Smith, Michelle Smith

IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%

Maturity Rating: NR

Runtime: 90 min

Synopsis: “In a celebration of outcasts, a precocious young blind woman vanishes into quirky obsessions and isolation. With humor and bold curiosity, she chases love and freedom in the most unexpected of places: a provocative fringe community.”

Netflix Original Marvel’s Daredevil (2015 – )

Crime, Drama

Creator: Drew Goddard

Stars: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

IMDB Rating: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

Maturity Rating: TV-MA

Runtime: 2 seasons – 13 episodes each about 50 minutes each

Synopsis: “Matt Murdock, with his other senses superhumanly enhanced, fights crime as a blind lawyer by day, and vigilante by night.”

Notes on Blindness (2016)

Documentary, Drama

Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney

Writers: Peter Middleton, James Spinney

Stars: John M. Hull, Marilyn Hull, Miranda Beinart-Smith

IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Maturity Rating: TV-PG

Runtime: 90 min

Synopsis: “Based on the audio diaries of academic and theologian John Hull, this film offers an impressionistic re-creation of his slow descent into blindness.”

Physical Disabilities

To learn more about physical disabilities, check out the Special Needs We Service page on our website.

Netflix Original The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

Comedy, Drama

Director: Rob Burnett

Writers: Rob Burnett (screenplay), Jonathan Evison (novel)

Stars: Craig Roberts, Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez

IMDB Score: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%

Maturity Rating: TV-MA for severe profanity and mild nudity.

Runtime: 97 minutes

Synopsis: “A man suffering an incredible amount of loss enrolls in a class about care-giving that changes his perspective on life.”

Donate Today

Not all of us can control what we see on our televisions. But we can all help in our own way. Even if you could only donate as little as $10. Donating $10 is as easy as watching a film on Netflix and not going to the movie theater. It could mean a world of happiness for one of our students.

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Register as a Volunteer

If you are local in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can enroll as a volunteer with the Achievement Center of Texas. We are eager for more help and are willing to accommodate­­­­­ your schedule. If you are especially eager to help with a certain part of the Achievement Center of Texas we will accommodate that too. For more information click the button below. Giving back to the community will help you sleep at night and you get to give back to the community too.

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About the Author

Charlie Haskell is a student at UNT. He’s a huge DC comics reader and has a guilty pleasure of campy film. He is volunteering as a blogger because he saw the opportunity to help those that couldn’t help themselves. You can find more information about Charlie at his website www.beardedjustis.com.

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