Target and Nordstrom are receiving praise for their newest child model -- adorable six-year-old Ryan, who has floppy blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and Down syndrome.
Ryan appears in Target's newest childrenswear ad, posing cheekily in an orange-and-brown striped T-shirt and brown pants. The youngster also appeared in an ad for Nordstrom several months ago looking like a little rebel in a leather jacket and jeans.
However, neither store made a big to-do about the boy's inclusion. No attention surrounded the editorials until a Daddyblogger posted the Target ad on the blog Noah's Dad, a forum for parents who have children with Down syndrome.
If you were browsing through this week's Target ad, you may have passed right over the adorable little boy in the bright orange shirt smiling at you on page 9! And if so, I'm glad! read the post. The reason I'm glad? Well, that stylish young man in the orange shirt is Ryan. Ryan just so happened to have been born with Down syndrome, and I'm glad that Target included a model with down syndrome in their typical ad!
This wasn't a 'Special Clothing For Special People' catalog. There wasn't a call out somewhere on the page proudly proclaiming that 'Target's proud to feature a model with Down syndrome in this week's ad!' And they didn't even ask him to model a shirt with the phrase, 'We Aren't All Angels' printed on the front, the blogger continued.
In other words, they didn't make a big deal out of it. I like that.
Ryan's proud mother also commented: We are very pleased that Nordstrom placed Ryan in their catalog. 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.
The inclusion of the adorable six-year-old boy is a nod to the ideals of fairness and equality. It's time for organizations to be intentional about seeking creative ways to help promote inclusion, not exclusion. It's no accident that Target used a model with Down syndrome in this ad; it was an intentional decision, said the father.
Companies don't have to call attention to the fact that they choose to be inclusive in order for people to notice their support for people with disabilities. In fact, by not making a big deal out of it they are doing a better job of showing their support for the special needs community.
Down syndrome is caused by a chromosomal abnormality of the 21st chromosome. Symptoms typically include distinct facial characteristics and intellectual disability. But, with support, many graduate high school and have steady jobs.
Earlier this year, another child with Down syndrome made a mark on the modeling world. Taya Kennedy, who is just 16 months old, signed with a UK agency. Her bubbly personality already has major firms wanting to book her, reports The Daily Mail.
Lauren Potter, 19, was cast as Becky Jackson, a cheerleader (or Cheerio), on FOX's hit show Glee. Potter has Down syndrome and beat out 13 other girls for the role. She has appeared in 22 episodes. Now, the young actress splits her time between acting and attending life skills programs.