NEW YORK (AP) -- Playing a deaf teen on the ABC Family Monday night drama Switched at Birth has put Katie Leclerc on Hollywood’s radar.
“I was acting for about 10 years before I got Switched, the 25-year-old actress said in a recent interview. “It was all minor things, nothing of note. And when I went into the audition for Switched, I was aware of the potential and that this is something that could really launch me.”
Leclerc plays Daphne Vasquez, a teen who lost her hearing as a child after a bout with meningitis. Daphne was switched as a newborn in the hospital with another baby. She grew up with a single mother in a working-class neighborhood while the other child grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother.
Leclerc was familiar with American Sign Language before playing Daphne. She and her sister have an inner ear disorder, Meniere’s Disease, which can cause hearing loss and vertigo. For Switched, Leclerc wanted to make Daphne’s speech realistic. She sat down with her sister, who teaches ASL, and mapped out an audiogram.
She laughs about the process of getting the accent just right.
“I did the accent every day for three weeks. I made my entire family crazy because I wanted it so badly.”