"Speechless" tells the story of the DiMeo family, a gang who's pretty good at dealing with the challenges it faces, and absolutely fantastic at creating new ones. At the heart of the action are Maya, a mom on a mission who will do anything for her family, and JJ, her whip-smart teen son with special needs.
Maya's a no-holds-barred fighter of injustices both real and imagined. In her orbit are dry and smarter-than-he-seems husband, Jimmy, her no-nonsense jock daughter, Dylan, and middle child, Ray. Ray's the lone adult in the family, the voice of reason, the brains of the operation... if you ask him, that is.
Our story begins as the family tours a run-down shack the kids learn will be their new home. This move, another in a long list of them in pursuit of the "perfect" situation for JJ, transports them from their middle-class roots to the upscale town next door. The very worst house in the neighborhood, with the freeway noise and cell tower in the yard to prove it. The DiMeos take to the move with gusto; there seems to be something for everyone at the new school. JJ will be assigned a full time aide, giving him independence and a spot in a mainstream class for the first time; for Dylan, there's a new, gazillion dollar track facility... But world-weary Ray begs Mom and Dad to stay, sure as he is that this move will disappoint just like the dozen others that came before. Ray's proven right, and quickly. Upon arrival, Maya's horrified to learn the "perfect" school turns out to have no wheelchair access, save a ramp in the back usually reserved for trash disposal. ("Oh, great! A garbage and my son ramp!") Throwing gasoline on Maya's fire is school groundskeeper, Kenneth, the most rare of creatures in Maya's universe: someone who's not afraid of her. JJ, too, sours on the place immediately, thanks to the drip of an aide he's been assigned and a classroom full of self-satisfied fellow students, all too eager to "celebrate" him. For uber-athlete, Dylan, no number of dollars poured into a track can make up for the indignity of a new, touchy-feely coach who goes waaaay too easy on Dylan's soft new teammates.
After one day, all the DiMeos are ready to bail on the place and move on - all of them except Ray, who finds himself on the outs again. He wants - needs - to stay and give the place a shot, drawn by the siren song of the school's astronomy club and the girl-of-his dreams, Jillian, who counts herself as its sole member. Things come to a head when Ray defies Maya and sneaks out after he takes a stand and demands that the family stay put. For him, for once. JJ finds an unlikely new "voice" in Mom's adversary, Kenneth. In a way, Ray, in standing up, finds a voice for himself as well. In another far more real way, though, he better never do that again or he'll be grounded until he's thirty.