The first week of January, American retailer Target included a little boy with Down Syndrome in a weekly ad. If you aren’t paying attention, this ad looks like any other ad for children’s clothing – 5 children playing in their Target brand clothing – except that one of those kids happens to have Down Syndrome. Although the ad was subtle, its connotations did not go unnoticed, and were quickly picked up by media outlets and bloggers alike.
One of those bloggers was Noah’s Dad. Noah is a baby born with Down Syndrome whose dad has created a blog to tell his story. Noah’s dad was compelled to create this blog after experiencing some “un-positive” reactions to the birth of his son. He wanted to spread the message that having a child with Down Syndrome is as joyful as having any child.
The message that having a developmental disability is okay is gaining momentum. In addition to the nearly 11,000 “likes” on Facebook that Noah’s Dad currently has, there are photo montages dedicated to this topic (like this one) and networks/sibling advocacy groups operated on social media sites are quickly gaining internet fame in their own right.
What can YOU do to help foster inclusion and spread the message that developmental disabilities are okay?
There are unique challenges that accompany special needs, but I think Dana Dillon from Catholic Moral Theology says it best “we can make those challenges easier or harder on the persons, families and communities who bear them most directly by our messages of inclusion and exclusion, of what counts as normal or not, of what counts as a life worth living, of what counts as a child worth celebrating.”
– Submitted by Caitlin Toews, L’Arche Greater Vancouver