Many of you may remember the TV show Life Goes On. I know it was one of the few shows my family watched regularly. It followed the Thatcher family through everyday life, though their lives might have been slightly more challenging. They had a son, Corky, with Down Syndrome.
Life Goes On was the first television series to have a main character with Down Syndrome. In fact, the show was created around the actor who played Corky, Chris Burke.
An important message to viewers was that people with Down Syndrome can function in the “real world”. Corky was “mainstreamed” into the regular high school, rather than being placed in a special school for students with special needs. I think the fact that Chris Burke successfully played the character of Corky for four years illustrates the abilities of people with Down Syndrome even more.
Now, on Tuesday evenings, you can see two actresses following the path blazed by Burke in the television phenomenon Glee. Lauren Potter plays Becky, a peppy member of the Cheerios cheerleading squad; and Robin Trocki plays Jean Sylvester, Sue Sylvester's older sister. This October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, and there is no better way to celebrate than to tip our hats to those who stand out by showing us that the only true difference is in our chromosomes.