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Meet Ryan Langston, the Kid Fashion Model with Down Syndrome

Rick Smith of the blog Noah's Dad, noticed something unusual in a Target circular. Like his son Noah, the model wearing the orange shirt has Down Syndrome.

That's very inclusive and all, but what really got Rick feeling good is that Target didn't make a big deal about it at all. He wrote:

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.

Rick's post went viral and the model, Ryan Langston, got quite a bit of attention:

On the Internet, parents of other special needs children are praising the ads -- and Ryan -- an outpouring that's surprised and overwhelmed his parents, Amanda and Jim Langston. [...]

"The fact that they are not making a big deal - it's ironic," Ryan's father Jim said. "It's a big deal because they are not making a big deal about it."

The Langstons' decision to involve Ryan in modeling was never about the money, Amanda said. "This has just become his own thing," she said. And it's also turned into a confidence booster.

Read more about Ryan Langston over at The Daily Nightly: Link


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Wow...quite a firestorm over something that really should be a non-starter. I think the ad is a good thing. It will be a BETTER thing when it becomes so commonplace that nobody thinks to mention it.
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Not name-calling, Alex. I took objection to the insensitivity of his comment.

As I said, people with DS were once locked away in institutions, never to be seen by their family members again. Families were encouraged to forget about them. Nowadays, doctors give women the chance to decide whether or not to abort an unborn fetus based on tests that indicate a possibility that the child may be born with DS.

I'm sure Target at least internally made a "see what we're doing" memo. So what? Good for them. In a world where a child like this has been considered socially embarrassing for so long, it's a big deal, and hopefully it will continue.
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Don't blame the media for making a big thing out of it. I'm sure the kid and his parents didn't want to make a big thing out of it. I'm pretty sure Target didn't want that either, if they did they could have done it themselves. It was a lone parent that made a big thing out of it.

People who truly don't care about these differences don't notice them. It was exactly the same thing when the BBC hire Cerrie Burnell to present preschool kids' TV. Until some parents started making a fuss I hadn't even noticed she didn't have two complete arms. Having a preschool son at the time I had seen her several times a day without noticing.

People who make an issue of these matters are often prejudiced, but know they shouldn't be so over compensate. We have friends who's son has epilepsy and some behavioural problems and they are always shouting about the fact that everybody should treat him like every other kid. They, however, do not treat him like any other kid. They are very patronising and restrictive towards him, but treat his younger brother like any other kid.
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