My Journal - Week 112 (19Oct11)

who just happens to have Down syndrome!

It was only a matter of time before the world would realize - Down syndrome isn't different....  "More alike than different" is the Down syndrome motto and it is becoming more of a reality than in past years.  Networks are working to introduce a new preschool cartoon character named "PUNKY".  Punky is not your run of the mill cartoon.  He has Down syndrome!!  Equality in every way now includes the cartoon world!!  The Ds world is very excited about Punky because slowly he gives children with Down syndrome a voice that says, we are just like you, even in cartoon-land.  When this cartoon hits the airwaves, it will give this new generation of preschoolers a view about Ds that the 80's generation got with "Corky" (Actor Chris Burke) from Life Goes On.

It's not just the cartoon world that has introduced Down syndrome into the view of the general public's eye.  Currently Sesame Street has several children with Down syndrome on it and at least one child with Ds is on nearly everyday.  Prime-time shows are now casting actors who happen to have Down syndrome, and they make the regular cast - not just stand in's or guest spots.  Take a look at Lauren Potter (Down syndrome Association of Los Angels' member with Down syndrome) - she plays Becky Johnson on T.V.'s hit show GLEE.  And WHY NOT?  1 in 660 babies born are born with Down syndrome.  A newer updated statistic (from 1:880) that makes a person more likely to have Down syndrome than a person to be born with red hair.  Interesting... isn't it? I thought so too, considering that Red hair occurs on approximately 1–2% of the human population (according to and the world's population of Down syndrome is at 2% and rising.

Take a peek here and read about this new character:

I am glad that parents and families who watch cartoons with their children, will get to see PUNKY.  Perhaps ideas will change when more people are exposed to the realities that Down syndrome isn't an unknown, strange or scary "disability" as some think it is.  Visions change when people are forced to realize that Down syndrome exists and they meet face to face with someone who has Ds.  Otherwise Ds is an unknown.  So perhaps this little cartoon child "Punky" will introduce Down syndrome in a way that is (of course) less threatening - being that he is a cartoon after all!


  1. Sadly all what you wrote here was said in the '80's too and there was a TV show with a regular actor appearing weekly. Human nature just has some odd behaviour that keeps repeating. Look at the nasty bullying issues amongst kids. It was around when we were kids and is still around today.

  2. Well perhaps (in general) I am a little more optimistic and I don't think it's sad at all. I think the 80's were a start and as time goes on, the more Ds is "out there" the more "usual" it will be regarded. I don't think that airing Down syndrome is synonymous with bullying. We can't compare bullying (an action) to ideals about Ds. At least I don't think we can, and bullying occurs among children, preconceptions about Ds occur mostly because of adults. The equation to me isn't the same. And in my blog I did mention about Corky who I believe is the TV show you are speaking about... that was the point I was trying to make. I guess, even as time goes on I don't see struggles regarding Ds as sad or terrible... I just think it's my job to educate and educate those who have the preconceptions that we are trying to eradicate. In the end, if I let me self be bitter or sad about the same old same old, eventually nothing will change. I do believe over the last 30 years, things have changed - a great deal. If we are in it and don't' sit back to view it, we forget or will find it hard to see!


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