Switched at Birth: How Toby's decision will change the show forever

Sep 7, 2015 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Image: ABC Family

Never one to shy away from controversial topics, Switched at Birth proves once again that it is a show to be taken seriously as it tackles head-on the issue of giving birth to and raising a child with Down syndrome.

Toby Kennish finds himself wrestling not only with the fact that he is about to become an unmarried father at 21, but also with family members who are not supportive of Toby and Lily keeping the baby, for one big reason: The baby has Down syndrome, and everyone on the show has an opinion.

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When Bay suggests that Toby visit a school for children with a disability, she thinks it will prove to him that they should abort the baby. Fortunately, it seems to have the exact opposite effect. SAB filled the set with beautiful, talented children with various forms of disabilities who were happy, laughing and completely innocent from all the ugly things in the world.

Toby encountered a beautiful little girl who he was able to interact with and who showed him that despite the possible medical issues and differences, a child with Down syndrome could be so sweet. You could see it in Toby's face when he found joy for the first time in the possibility of having a child with Down syndrome.

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SAB did an amazing job of teaching viewers what having a child with Down syndrome could be about. The show didn't shy away from the difficulties when the teacher admitted that some kids are less functioning than others and that some kids will have more serious medical issues. A father in the class encountered Toby and admitted that, yes, it would be hard, but promised Toby that it "would be the single most enriching experience" of his life.

The writers did a fantastic job in this episode of bringing to light the very sensitive topic of raising a child with special needs, specifically a child with Down syndrome. They showed the viewers that being different is beautiful, that being different is OK and that everyone, every child, no matter what their mental capability, deserves to be loved and accepted for who they are.

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In the end, Toby and Lily decided to keep the baby. The couple came to the conclusion that they are willing to take the good with the bad and give 100 percent to their child. Toby finally becomes a man in this episode when he makes the biggest decision he has ever had to make, knowing that this decision will define the rest of his life. By the end of the episode, his entire family has come around and pledged their support to Toby, Lily and the baby, setting up many future episodes where the writers can focus on children with a disability.