Family Ties

Season 6 Episode 26

Sign of the Times

Aired Unknown Mar 13, 1988 on NBC

Episode Recap

While Alex prepares little Andrew's resume for future kindergarten elections, Elyse proudly tells the family that Andy has been chosen as Buddy for the Day at school, which means he will be responsible for showing a new classmate around.

The new student, Josh Richards, turns out to be deaf. Accompanied by his mother, Josh is introduced to Andy by Andy's teacher, who explains that although Josh can't hear, he can speak by signing with his hands. Tentative at first, Andy leads Josh off to show him the ropes, telling his curious classmates about Josh's deafness and his ability to sign.

When several of Josh's schoolmates begin to tease him, Andy becomes very upset and rushes to defend him. He becomes even more disturbed at the end of the day when Josh confesses that the other children's cruelty does indeed hurt him. Experiencing the beginnings of a solid friendship, Andy begins to brood about Josh's handicap and stops talking altogether in sympathy for his friend.

Troubled by the situation, Steven and Elyse meet with Andy's teacher and Josh's mother, hoping to find a way to get through to Andy. Ultimately, however, only Josh himself can convince little Andy to speak again.