Target Features Down Syndrome Child As Model

Target Down Syndrome - H 2012

Target Down Syndrome - H 2012

A 6-year-old Down syndrome boy models in major fashion retailer catalogs and, refreshingly, the stores don't grab publicity by publicizing his inclusion.

Target and Nordstrom are embracing some new fashion models. An adorable 6-year-old model  named Ryan -- who has Down's syndrome -- has quietly appeared in these stores' fashion catalogs.

Neither store made a big to-do about his inclusion. It took the boy's father, a Daddyblogger on Noah's Dad, to get the news out by posting the photos and blogging about it.

Ryan’s proud mom also commented on the blog: " 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."

What we love about the ads is that Ryan is just one of the gang, an adorable, happy and smiling pint-sized model. Ryan's dad agrees: "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."

But he adds "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 children and adults have been making inroads into entertainment. A 16-month-old Down syndrome little girl, Taya Kennedy, was recently signed to an British agency and has major firms wanting to cast her. And last year, Johnny Depp's life partner Vanessa Paradis starred as the mother of a Down syndrome child in Jean-Marc Vallee's touching film Cafe de Flore. And the TV show American Horror Story also featured a Down syndrome girl in its first season.