At a recent discussion panel at Comic Con several fairly well-known people with disabilities were asked how they felt about the medias tendency to cast able-bodied peoplein the role of disabled characters, full disclosure I did not actually hear the question the video clip I saw started at the beginning of the responses. The fact that the actor playing Artie Abrams in Glee but brought up of course and the producer got flayed alive because his reasoning for the casting choice was to be able to pull off a specific dream sequence involving the song Safety Dance. They completely forgot to mention that there were two reoccurring characters with Downs Syndrome both unless I’m terribly mistaken played by actresses with the conditi. I know for sure that it was true of at least one of the actresses which is a lot better than some shows have ever done
When Glee first started members of the cast went a television awards ceremony (I forget which one) and one of the commentators upon seeing Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) walking by greeted him with “it’s a miracle! You can walk!” His reply? “That’s not funny. You have no idea what people who can’t walk live with.” That statement encapsulates why I don’t have a problem with able-bodied people portraying disability as long as an effort is made to do so accurately and with sensitivity. Most television shows hope you stick around for at least four years. Assuming that the character is in the main credits or at least frequently reoccurring that’s four years of putting yourself into someone else’s every day life every day of yours. Your perception of life is going to shift even if you don’t think it will at first. I don’t think that is a something we should actively avoid.