Kids see plenty of nervous characters on television shows but may not know what actual anxiety is. Kids primarily learn through visuals, which makes television an excellent educational platform. Striking visual effects were used to educate kids on the real struggles of anxiety in the Netflix children’s television show “The Healing Powers of Dude”. This model can help future generations understand this particular mental illness.

What Happens in the Netflix show “The Healing Powers of Dude?”

The main character of “The Healing Powers of Dude” is Noah, an 11-year-old boy with a social anxiety disorder. To overcome this struggle, he gets help from his family, therapist, and some new friends. Noah also has an emotional support dog named Dude, who is there to comfort Noah. As the show progresses, Noah gets permission to bring Dude to school to help him feel calm.

Why Did the Visuals Need to Be Used for “The Healing Powers of Dude?”

In the television show, Noah’s best friend Amara, has a physical disability. A social anxiety disorder may not be as apparent as Amara’s disorder, so the creators visualized Noah’s internal dialogue. They show what is going on in his head, which is much more effective than a kid looking nervous all the time. 

What Kind of Visuals are Shown to Expose Anxiety?

We are able to see things like Noah’s head growing to an abnormal size or being surrounded by zombies in a video game. There is another scene where the floor turns into quicksand. The point is to make each fantasy feel different while accurately representing the feeling of anxiety. 

What Kind of Impact Has the Show Had on Viewers?

The show has gotten a lot of support and positive feedback from parents and kids. This show felt personal to co-creator Sam Littenberg-Weisberg who also has a social anxiety disorder. Viewers have said that the show helps kids communicate how they are feeling. Older audiences wish that they had this show when they were growing up. They also like the fact that Sophie Kim, who plays Amara, has muscular dystrophy in real life, which shows accurate representation. We can see the friendship between someone with a physical disability and one with a mental one. Television shows like these can bring about understanding and compassion about social anxiety.

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