OK, top this for a nightmare scenario: A disabled school bus is filled with kids who don't know each other, and who all suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, hyperactivity, depression, dyslexia, mood swings or other brain disorders. The bus actually broke down en route to the set of Linda Ellerbee's Nick News special What's Wrong with Me? (Sunday, 8:30 pm/ET on Nickelodeon). The funny thing is, everything turned out just fine.
"They all bonded," Ellerbee tells TV Guide Online. "They made friends, and they all talked about what it was like to be with all these other kids who were like them. And later on, we grown-ups sat and thought that maybe this idea of 'mainstreaming' isn't really the right answer."
One of those grown-ups was special guest Dr. Phil McGraw, whom Ellerbee was meeting for the first time. "From the moment he sat down on the set, every time he responded to a kid, he knew that kid's name," she says. "I judge grown-ups who come on our shows not by what they say to kids, but how well they listen. And he's a 10 in listening."
There's a lot to listen to in this special, as the kids speak honestly and often movingly about their yearning to be "normal." "For years, not only did they go undiagnosed, [but] when they were diagnosed, they were treated — and to some extent, still are — as though they were dumb," Ellerbee points out. "[What's Wrong with Me?] says two things. One, you're not crazy if you're having some of these issues. And two, you're not alone."