Actors with down syndrome

When an actor, with down syndrome, is playing a character, do they have to be coached in how to act, ie sad, anger or happy? Or can they act?
I hope I don’t sound insensitive.

Actors with Down’s syndrome always seem to get cast playing characters with Down’s syndrome. Just like Marlee Matlin always plays deaf characters.

Funny how that works.

And don’t tell anyone, but most black actors play black characters.

Indian actors, though, can slide easily back and forth from Indian to Pakistani.

And understanding my bias upfront and everything else: Yes, BluePitbull, you sound insensitive.


Many people with Down Syndrome are “high functioning” and - despite their physical appearance and health issues - have near-normal intellectual abilities.

BluePitbull, go ahead and ask. I think you just need to get more informed on the subject.

I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with Chris Burke (Life Goes On) a number of years ago for a newspaper article. It was really interesting, because like most reporters, I probably started out with some fairly predictable questions, which he answered very fluidly. That piqued my interest, so I started asking questions that were perhaps a little less predictable, and at that point, the interview disintigrated.

I don’t think he had been coached for the interview at all. I do think he had a narrower frame of reference from which to respond. (And if it had been a face-to-face interview with more that 10 minutes allotted to it, the experience might well have been totally different.)

Having gone through an MFA acting program where I learned about all the various emotional techniques, I don’t think for a minute he had to be coached about how to act sad or angry or happy. His director may have had to taken a different approach with him, but that’s not what I think of as coaching.

I was always impressed by Chris Burke’s performance in Life Goes On, and my experience interviewing him only enhanced my appreciation.

Dude plays a mean center field, too.