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Learning Disabilities in Hollywood

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

This maybe a short blog but, I would like to start to address the subject of the lack of actors/characters in Hollywood big mainstream films. The only time there have been characters with learning disabilities in films, they have been portrayed as vulnerable, stupid, dependant on others, gross or ugly. Whereas, in the real world, a lot of people with learning disabilities are the opposite to these stereotypes.

In the film industry, I feel a lot of people learn some of their attitudes towards others from these films and others portraying people with learning disabilities as stupid and dependant. Children growing up with learning disabilities are often getting bullied by other kids and even adults, then later in life the children with learning difficulties grow up to be adults suffering from mental health illnesses. It is estimated that up to 40% of adults with learning disabilities also have mental health problems. The prejudice towards people with learning disabilities needs to stop now.

Some believe that Hollywood need to change their attitudes about people with learning disabilities and show people that they can be independent and can act as well as actors without any learning difficulties. Make characters with learning disabilities independent, intelligent and just like everybody else. People are crying out for more diversity in films, so why not have more actors/characters with learning difficulties in films. It'll be nice to have the future generations with learning difficulties to have someone to relate to and not feel alone.

Actress Jamie Brewer, known as her roles in American Horror Story (she played Nan, Adelaide ‘Addy’ Langdon, Marjorie and Hedda). She is a great role model as in her roles in American Horror Story her characters were never portrayed as the girl with downs syndrome, her characters were just like any other characters in the programme which makes me pleased that some people are starting to see people with learning disabilities as regular people. Brewer is involved with several non-profit organizations such as DSALA, BTAP, National Down Syndrome Congress, The American Association of People with Disabilities of the United States, and Shane's Inspiration.

Quote from the actress, “Young girls and even young women see me and say 'hey, if she can do it so can I'. It's a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to encourage them in being who they are and showing who they are.” 

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