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‘Glee’ Actresses With Down Syndrome To Be Honored

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Two actresses with Down syndrome who appear in recurring roles on Fox’s “Glee” will be recognized Thursday for positively portraying individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Arc will present Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki with the group’s first-ever Inclusion and Image Award during the advocacy organization’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

Potter and Trocki were selected for the honor for “breaking down barriers, increasing awareness and challenging stereotypes” through their roles on the show, according to officials at The Arc.

“We wanted to commend the actresses and the show in particular for providing positive portrayals of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for The Arc. “They’ve been seen throughout the world both on the show and as people and actresses who had a dream and have fulfilled it.”

On the show, Potter, 20, plays Becky Jackson, a high school cheerleader who’s taken under the wing of the squad’s hard-nosed coach Sue Sylvester. Meanwhile, Trocki portrays Sylvester’s sister, Jean.

Both women tried out for the roles on “Glee” last year after being contacted by a talent agency run by the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.

“Glee” has received praise as well as criticism for its portrayals of individuals with disabilities. The show is seen as innovative by some for including Potter and Trocki’s characters, but it has also gotten flack for casting Kevin McHale, who does not have a disability, to play Artie Abrams, a character who uses a wheelchair.

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Disability Scoop welcomes comments, but all submissions are moderated and will not appear until they are approved. Please keep your remarks brief and refrain from inserting links. In order to maintain a respectful dialogue, comments that are promotional, off-topic, unoriginal or those that contain offensive language or make personal attacks will not be published.

Comments (4 Responses)

  1. Political Jules says:

    I am happy for this actress and all, and she is absolutely precious each
    time I have seen her on Glee, but the show itself is disgusting. The
    language, and sexual content borders on being pornographic. It even
    suggests a bland version of pedophilia in some episodes where high school
    girls are dressed in no less than playboy bunny attire while older teachers
    and other adults drool over them. I am not being a prude either. Have you
    seen the magazine shoot in Maxim that the actresses who play high school
    girls have done? Even the 7-11 puts that issue in a plastic cover. Then
    the stories of the teachers sleeping around with each other and sharing
    personal information with their students on this show is disturbing. What
    kind of role model does this provide for our kids? Especially when the show
    gains popularity by having a child with Down syndrome in it?

    Let me assure you I am not a hater! I have tried to watch glee over and
    over, because so many people in the Ds community and other people (who know
    I have a child with Ds) just rave about it and praise it for being
    wonderful, but it just gets to be too much with my kids in the room. Some
    of the off color humor is funny but it is definitely not for anyone under
    the age of 18. The controversial topics are handled very poorly and they
    promote some very questionable things involving high school students. The
    child in the wheelchair is really used inappropriately and somehow it feels
    like if they make a kid in a wheelchair seem lewd or inappropriate that
    people will accept it more? I dunno, but Glee is very poorly done and
    beyond offensive.

    Why is the industry using children with Down syndrome and other disabilities
    to push such controversial & offensive topics? It seems like media
    manipulation to me, it seems like they are pushing the envelope to gain
    favor with a corner of the population by using them and people like them.
    Personally, I do not care if they have this precious child with Down
    syndrome in their show or how many awards they give her for their own
    publicity. It is still disgusting, and even more so that they use this
    innocent child to buffer that disgusting content. Am I the only one that
    has noticed how the entertainment industry is trying to manipulate the
    public by using children with Down syndrome to bash conservative leaders, as
    well as push really inappropriate content that you see on Glee? Are we
    outraged yet?

    I am very disappointed with the “Disability scoop” newsletter and web site. Ever since I have subscribed here, it seems to push an agenda thatis very different from most of us in the disability community. Could it be that more liberals are trying to manipulate people with disabilities by running web sites like this? I think it is entirely possible that they get involved with a disability organization and just every once in awhile post little seeds to get the mind manipulation machine working. I hope people are waking up. Tuesday seemed to indicate that, but make no mistake, the manipulation machine has been cranked up to full speed and will be turned up even higher in the years to come.

    Are you awake yet?

  2. Political Jules says:

    Moderation seems rather slow on this article. Wonder if that is by design… Regardless, my opinions and others like them can be shared in so many other and much further reaching ways than the disability scoop web site. Already there is much agreement with my observations about how disgusting Glee is, in other groups across the country that have instantaneous connections. Seems like with the technology we have today that a website like the scoop could respond much quicker, but who knows. Maybe the scoop is less advanced than it appears. Regardless, slow moderation on the scoop will not silence the message that Glee is to be avoided. Here is hoping that the editors are not what they seem to be.

  3. Ness says:

    Our 25 year old daughter (who has Down Syndrome) is Glee’s biggest fan. She loves the show, thinks “mean” Sue Sylvester is very funny and is thrilled that Lauren is the cheerleader with Down’s. She thinks all the music – and all the kids – are beyond cool.

  4. mherrmann says:

    Don’t forget Zack Weinstein, the actor with quadraplegia! Hats off to Glee for bringing disabilities to the mainstream…whether it’s met with praise or criticism!

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