Open up a Sunday newspaper, and a slew of store ads will likely tumble out. Most feature at least one page of cute youngsters modeling the latest in children’s fashion.
One circular and one child model, in particular, have gained national attention this month. Target, in its Jan. 1 ad, featured a blond boy named Ryan Langston who just happens to have Down syndrome. The retail giant’s inclusivity — and the fact it didn’t try to capitalize on it by mentioning the 6-year-old’s condition — has won it praise from disability advocates and has earned write-ups in Time magazine, the Washington Post and Ad Week, among others. Ryan, it turns out, is a pro, having modeled for a Nordstrom catalog last year.
Given the alarming rate at which unborn children with Down syndrome are aborted — an estimated 90 percent — the positive publicity for the Target ad is encouraging. Perhaps it will plant a seed with parents of unborn babies that children with Down are just as adorable as “typical” kids.