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Everyday we see magazine ads, television commercials and even television programs that show children and their families playing on the swings, having play dates with other children, being the star basketball player or even being the accomplished gymnast that are supposed to represent the “typical” family.
But for those families whose child was diagnosed with Down syndrome or any disability for that matter, this is not representative of their “typical” family.
The birth of a child with a disability, or the discovery that a child has a disability, can have a profound effect on a family unit. No parent “dreams’ of their child having a disability – this is truly an unplanned event, but one that families all over the world are dealing with. Isolation and fear that their child will not be accepted by their peers sets in. So when barriers are broken down and acceptance takes the forefront, inclusion becomes the norm.
So when families of children with special needs see articles like this:
we rejoice, we celebrate that another beautiful child has made it big! Caroline White, from Bath, noticed the lack of diversity in retailers’ Back to School campaigns while out shopping for her four-year-old son Seb. So she persuaded Mark & Spencer a big retail company to rethink the children they have modeling their children’s clothes. Now Mark & Spencer has taken on board the comments she made and Seb has become the retailer’s latest model recruit. Congratulations Seb you are absolutely gorgeous!courtesy of www.parentsdish.co.uk
So why don’t more big retailers take this approach? Target and Nordstrom’s did when they had adorable 6 year old Ryan appear in their ads.
Ryan’s mom comments:
courtesy of SFGate
The whole process of modeling is an extreme confidence booster for him. He received so much warmth and caring from the Nordstrom crew that he thought they were there just for him! We are honored that Ryan is making the Down syndrome community proud. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He makes us better parents, and a better family.
Or check out this adorable beauty Valentina Guerrero. She is the
new lead model for Spanish swimwear designer Dolores Cortés’ 2013 children’s swimsuit collection, DC Kids.
Cortés announced the news at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami Beach as she walked down the runway holding Valentina in her arms. She told AdWeek:
courtesy of The Guardian
“People with Down syndrome are just as beautiful and deserve the same opportunities. I’m thrilled to have Valentina modeling for us.”
“Changing the Face of Beauty” is a creative movement of Katie Driscoll and Steve English to integrate disabled persons into mass media advertising. Katie states:
“We have all read about the big box stores choosing to include individuals with disabilities in their advertising campaigns. It is exciting to see all people represented in the Sunday newspaper because that is just the way it is supposed to be. We want to make the same impact on privately owned independent businesses.”courtesy of 5boysand1girlmake6.com
Infantino and Step2, leaders in thoughtfully-designed and smartly styled products for babies and kids, teamed up with Kelle Hampton photographer and blogger at “Enjoying The Small Things” to cast for their “Everybody Plays” marketing campaign.
“Everybody Plays” was launched in 2011, the same year Colette Cosky, Sr. Brand Manager at Infantino, gave birth to her son Dexter who was born with Down syndrome. Colette soon realized that with the birth of her son, that more representation of all children, including those with special needs, in magazines, television ads, packaging and more, was needed. With Infantino’s support, Cosky led the development of “Everybody Plays.”
courtesy of PRNewsWire.com
“None of our babies look, grow, talk or laugh alike and we think that’s beautiful. By including all children in Infantino visuals, differences become diminished and a new norm is established,” said Cosky. “In fact, we want to celebrate it and do our part to show the world the unique faces, smiles and styles of babies and kids everywhere – just because we can.”
Differences become diminished! As a mother of a child born with Down syndrome I love this new way of thinking. So I say “thank you” and give kudos to all those businesses that have overlooked the differences and gave a platform to celebrate all of our children’s unique and individual characteristics.
So with all that said my question is simple. If a parent of a child with special needs feels that their child has what it take to be a model, how do they find a modeling agency that will enthusiastically take their child on as a client?
As a proud mother who thinks her child is model material, I have mailed my son’s pictures to a few agencies hoping that someone will see in him what we see. A beautiful child with a magnetic personality and eyes that are so captivating you see the beauty in his sole.
I’m sure like with any model getting “discovered” and finding their big break, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. So I say to all those parents of a child who is beautiful inside and out, and has a face that people will smile over, keep sending those pictures. You are your child’s biggest advocate. Like Caroline, she saw a need for diversity in the Back To School campaign and began contacting stores to share her views.
“I didn’t dare get my hopes up but when I made the call I couldn’t believe it. They thought the idea was great and within the week had invited Seb to a photo-shoot at a photography studio in London to be in the M&S In Store Christmas magazine.”
Who knows your child may be the next big model!