Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), an 18 year old Connecticut high school senior with autism. He talks in a monotone voice, can’t understand social cues, is brutally honest, takes everything very literally and is obsessed with penguins and all things Antarctica. To focus, he wears earphones to filter out sounds.
Sam lives with his family, including his caring father Doug (Michael Rapaport), an EMT who abandoned the family for eight months when Sam was born because he had a hard time relating to his son’s autism; Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Sam’s devoted and very organized mom who now struggles to find life outside of being Sam’s guardian by having a fling with a local bartender (Raul Castillo); and Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), Sam’s younger sister who breaks a track-and-field record at her high school and receives an athletic scholarship. She is Sam’s protector and won’t anyone beat him up, except herself.
Sam’s friends include Zahid (Nik Dodani), a bad-advice-giving best friend and coworker at a Techtropolis electronics shop who insists on hugging Sam’s mom each time he sees her; Paige (Jenna Boyd), a schoolmate and later girlfriend; and Julia Sasaki (Amy Okuda), a 27 year old therapist who helps Sam navigate his love life, friends, and family while he strives for independence. At one point, Sam thought to pursue Julia romantically.
Glee/FOX/2009-2015 (Down Syndrome)
Rebecca “Becky” Faye Jackson (Lauren Potter), a member of the “Cheerios” cheer leading squad at William McKinley High School who has Down Syndrome. Becky is a sweet-hearted girl but she can be super brassy and a bit of a conniver.
Becky served as a secretary for Coach Susan “Sue” Rodham Sylvester. She helped the Coach with her schemes to destroy the school’s Glee Club, The New Directions and their teacher Will Shuester.
Becky is an excellent poker player; lactose intolerant; thinks making toast is silly, since bread is already baked; is a better speller than Britanny; can alter her inner thoughts voice to whatever she pleased (For example, she speaks like Queen Elizabeth II – voiced by the actress Helen Mirren); and Becky’s favorite movie is Schindler’s List. Toy Story 3 is a “close second.”
Becky is one of the four characters featured on the show with Down’s Syndrome: The other three being Sue’s sister Jean Sylvester (Robin Trocki) [who dies in Season 2]; Jason (Luke Spinelli) [Becky’s date in Episode “Prom Queen”]; and Sue’s baby daughter, Robin Sylvester (Jordyn Orr). Coach Sue likes Becky because she reminds her of her sister, Jean.
The Becky Jackson character appeared in 56 episodes of the series from 2009-2015.
Some Becky related quotes from the GLEE show.
Burt: How about “retard”? You call that nice girl in Cheerios with Kurt, you call her a retard?
Finn: Becky-no. She’s my friend, she’s got Down syndrome. I’d never call her that. That’s cruel.
Becky (to Blaine): I’m Queen Bee, and I can sting like a bitch! BZZ!
Becky (to Will): Give me chocolate or I will cut you!
Puck: So…uh… What should we do now?
Becky: Duh… Play Strip Poker! [whispers] I got condoms!
Kurt: Becky, Blaine and I are gay, remember?
Becky: Never stopped me before! [winks]
Becky: I made out with a girl.
Becky: [voiceover in a British accent] I, Becky Faye Jackson, am the hottest bitch at McKinley high school. I’m not only co-captain of the Cheerios, I’m president of the Perfect Attendance Club, and I won a participation award in rhythmic gymnastics. You may be wondering why I sound like the queen of England. It’s simple: in my mind, I can sound like whomever I want. So lay off, haters. Okay, let’s get reals. I could easily snag any dude east of the Mississippi, but I’m extremely picky. [sees Rory] For instance, Rory grins too much. He looks like an insane person. [sees Puck] Is that a mohawk, Puckerman, or did someone glue a squirrel to your head? [sees Mike] No Chang-do. I’m no rice queen.
Sue: Oh Becky, I’ve known ever since I tinker-tailor-soldier-spied my way into Figgins’s file cabinet and read the evaluation cards. And when I saw one written in crayon, I knew it was either you or Brittany, and you’re the better speller.
Becky: What if I go to college and everybody makes fun of me again? What if everybody calls me stupid like they always used to?
Artie: They won’t because you will have all these awesome professors and counselors and new friends that will have your back. And your old friends will have your back too. Like me.
Becky: You’re really my friend?
Will: I heard a rumor that you are making retirement plans.
Sue: Damn it, Becky. She tweeted it, didn’t she?
Note: Lauren Potter (aka, Becky Jackson) was chosen by President Obama to join the ranks of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), making her the first person on the committee with an intellectual disability appointed by the President.
See also: Glee
Glee/FOX/2009-2015 (Wheelchair/Damaged Spinal Cord)
Arthur “Artie” Abrams (Kevin McHale), a nerdish, paraplegic teenager with glasses who is confined to a non-motorized wheelchair. He was paralyzed by car accident when he was eight-years-old. Artie attends William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. His nemesis are members of his school’s football team who often bully him.
Despite the damage to his spinal cord, Artie is a normal teenager who wants to make friends and find romance with, among others, Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), who had faked a stuttering speech impediment since the sixth grade; Britanny Pierce (Heather Morris), a cheerleader with whom Artie lost his virginity; and Kitty Wilde (Becca Tobin).
Artie is a member of the glee club group “The New Directions” where he sings, and dances in a fashion, by moving his wheelchair in time with the music and the other performers. He also plays guitar with the school’s jazz ensemble, dabbles in film directing, and is a member of both the A.V. Club and the Academic Decathlon team.
Aside from being a talented guy, Artie also has a kind and giving heart. When fellow student and cheerleader Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) damaged her spine (a truck struck her car) and had to use a wheelchair, Artie took the time to show her how to navigate the ramps and just have a fun time. After weeks of recovery, Quinn was able to walk again.
When the Glee Club is disbanded, Artie graduates and goes to the Brooklyn Film Academy in New York. While still at the film school, he returns to McKinley to help recruit members for the newly rebooted glee club.
In 2020, Artie’s film gets into the Slamdance Film Festival. It starred Tina (who is now his girlfriend). Later, Artie goes back to McKinley for the re-dedication of McKinley’s auditorium (Finn Auditorium) where he performs “I Lived” with every former member of the “New Directions.” They all take a bow.
Note: In the episode “Glee Actually”, Artie injures himself on an icy ramp, and angrily wishes he’d never had to be in a wheelchair. A subsequent dream, shows him walking.
Born June 14, 1988, actor Kevin Michael McHale (who is not disabled) was a former member of the boy band NLT (Not Like Them).
During the season one episode “Laryngitis” Sean Fretthold (Zack Weinstein), appeared as a disabled 16 year old male who lived in Lima, Ohio. He enjoyed math, singing and also attended William McKinley High School.
Sean played on the school football team until an accident paralyzed him from the upper chest down. He injured his spinal cord at the C4 vertebrae.
To get around, Sean used a wheelchair. When he first got his wheelchair, he pushed it into his family swimming pool in a fit of anger. He was a friend of Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry.
See also: Glee (2)
Bad Education/BBC/2012-2014 (Wheelchair)
Leslie “Rem Dogg” Remmington (Jack Binstead), an obnoxious, mean-spirited disabled young adult in a wheelchair. He attends Abbey Grove School in Hertfordshire, England. He constantly wears a pair of headphones and baseball cap. obnoxious, His father has a glass eye.
Dogg’s teacher is Alfie Wickers (Jack Whitehall) – “the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system.” He is the school’s newly graduated secondary school history teacher whom Rem Dogg constantly harasses (he likes to run over Wickers’ shoes with his wheelchair).
Rem Dogg’s friends at school are teacher’s pet Joe Poulter (Ethan Lawrence); tough guy Mitchell Harper (Charlie Wernham), Dogg’s best mate; inappropriately flirtatious Chantelle (Nikki Runeckles); effeminate Stephen Carmichael (Layton Williams), the studious Jing Hua (Kae Alexander); and outwardly fiery Cleopatra Ofoedo (Weruche Opia). And, we can’t leave out the school bully, Frank Grayson (Jack Bence).
Later, Rem Dogg became an emo (short for “emotional”) and rarely spoke, going some episodes without saying a word.
Note: A spin-off movie entitled The Bad Education Movie was released to theaters on August 21, 2015 in the UK. It followed teacher Alfie Wickers as he toured the Cornwall region of England with his students.
Actor Jack Binstead (aka “Remm Dogg”) has been a wheelchair user since the age of 3 because he suffers from the Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. Binstead has won numerous awards and nominations as a paralympian. Standing, Jack is 4′ 10″ tall.
Prior to appearing in BAD EDUCATION, Binstead made appearances on THE PAUL O’GRADY SHOW.
See also: External Link – Being Disabled. My Story So Far – Jack Binstead @ You Tube
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Wheelchair)
Maya Goldberg (Kyra Levy), a kind, caring, confident Jewish teenager who attended Degrassi Jr. High School. She was born with Spina Bifida and moved about on a wheelchair.
Her character appeared on DJH from September 1987 to June 1989 and later on the sequel series DEGRASSI HIGH SCHOOL from September 1989 to June 1991.
In the sequel series, DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION characters who found themselves in wheelchairs included: Nadia Yamir, Jimmy Brooks, Trina Brooks, Mr. Ehl and Margaret Matlin.
- Nadia Yamir (Mony Yassir), confined to a wheelchair, she attended the DeGrassi Community School and was a member of the Yearbook Committee and Chess Club on season 2 and 3 of DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION/2001-20015.
- James “Jimmy” Brooks (Aubrey Graham), a black graduate of the Class of 2007, attended DeGrassi Community School. Born September 1987, he was a school basketball star until a shooting at school left him crippled in Season 4. He was shot in the back (by Rick) leaving Jimmy paralyzed from the waist down. He earned the nickname “Houdini on Wheels.”
- Trina Brooks (Terra Vnesa), the fiancée of Jimmy Brooks. Trina was paralyzed from a fall while rock climbing. She met Jimmy Brooks in . Later, Jimmy proposed marriage and she accepted.
- Mr. Ehl (Roger McKeen), disabled mechanics teacher at Degrassi Community School. He navigated via a motorized wheelchair.
- Margaret Matlin (Spirit Synott in season 11), has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, but is able to walk with crutches. She is the mother of Maya and Kaite Matlin. To relieve pain, Margaret takes Codeine pills. The roll of Margaret was portrayed by actress Kate Hewlett beginning in season 12.
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Leukemia)
Lorraine “L.D.” Delacorte (Amanda Cook), a seventh grader who developed leukemia at age 15 and missed much of her freshman year due to chemotherapy and her growing reclusive nature. The character continued on the sequel series DeGRASSI HIGH.
DeGRASSI JR. HIGH/SYN/1987-91 (Epilepsy)
Caitlin Ryan (Stacy Mistysyn) , seventh grade class beauty, aspiring actress, swim team member and school newspaper reporter for The DeGrassi Digest who struggled with epilepsy (controlled by medication).