Monday, January 2, 2012

As If I Needed Another Reason To Shop At Target and Introducing Noah

Just found a beautiful blog about Noah-- a little one who also has Down syndrome.  Today, Noah's dad posted about an ad that Target ran in this week's Sunday newspaper that just happens to feature a very handsome young man who has an extra chromosome.  One of Joey's "chromosomal cousins" is what I like to say.  What Noah's dad writes hits my thoughts on "target" (sorry-- I couldn't resist), so I am sharing his posting here.  He is a wonderful writer and advocate for Down syndrome.  Wait until you see the gorgeous photo of Noah at the end-- my heart melts.

If you don't have a child or a family member or even a friend who has special needs or a medical disability, you may wonder why ads like these are such a big deal.  Well, for one, it is a sign of how far we are coming as a society when we embrace all individuals and not just "typical" kids and adults.  It also provides such a sense of belonging.  Isn't that really what we all ultimately want?  To belong.  To fit in.  I spend almost 99% of my time and thought on helping to build awareness and acceptance for differences, but I have to confess, there are times when it is just nice to feel as though we belong.  That our babies and children are included.  That while we celebrate our obvious differences, deep down we know that all humans are different and that is what makes us all so beautiful.  When you go to a birthday party, or a play group, or church-- many times you go and know that your child will be the only one who is noticeably different.  Sometimes I worry about it and sometimes I don't.  The worry comes and go.  Sometimes you just want to fit in.  Is this the right way to feel?  I don't know.  I'm just being totally honest and my point is-- seeing an advertisement for a major retailer that has a child with Down syndrome in it gives me that warm, fuzzy, "we belong" feeling that I have to admit-- I sometimes crave for me and my children.

Enjoy meeting Noah!

target ad down syndrome model kid child
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!
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.
In other words, they didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I like that.

5 Things Target Said By Not Saying Anything

down syndrome model target ad boy ad
Even though Target didn’t make a big deal out of the fact they used a boy with Down syndrome as a model in their ad, they said plenty.  They said the same things that Nordstrom did when they used Ryan as a model in their catalog this past summer.  I could list a hundred things Target said by running this ad, let me give you 5 that immediately come to mind:
  1. They said that people born with Down syndrome deserve to be treated the same as every other other person on this planet.
  2. They said that 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 and proactive decision.)
  3. They said that companies don’t have to call attention to the fact that they choose to beinclusive in order for people to notice their support for people with disabilities.  In fact, by notmaking a big deal out of it they are doing a better job of showing their support for the special needs community.
  4. They said it’s important for the world to see people born with disabilities with a fresh set of eyes.  That it’s time for us to lay down all the lame stereotypes of the past and move embrace the future with true and accurate ones
  5. They said you don’t have to spend a lot for your kid to dress well! (That shirt is only five bucks!)

The Future Is Bright

baby down syndrome future bright christmas cute
The future is bright for people with disabilities!
One of the reasons I started this site was to give the world an opportunity to see first hand what it’s like raising a child born with Down syndrome.  I had this crazy idea that if I could give the world a window into the world of a special needs family it would help them see that people like my son are much more typical then they may think.  I believe the story we are telling by posting a daily one minutevideo of his life is doing just that.
I’ve never been more excited about the future of individuals born with disabilities.
The possibilities are endless, and the future looks bright!
To Target:
As a father of a son born with a disability I want to sincerely thank you.  I hope that more companies choose to follow the great example that you guys have set.  By choosing to embrace the exciting future and limitless opportunities for people like my son, organizations like yours are leading the way in showing the world that our world isn’t forced to live in the past.
Thank you Target.  By not saying you said a lot.

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