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

Thats really sweet and all, But isnt the fact that they are making a huge deal about the fact that Target wasnt making a big deal about it counteracting that fact to begin with? Target was just using a kid for an ad. Now, thanks to these people and their big deal about no big deal everyone is aware of that kids down syndrome. Seems a little backwards to me.
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I think they are all representative of DMS-IV diagnostics, from left to right: Down's Syndrom, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Co-dependency and aboulia.
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TIL Taijin Kyofusho: Taijin kyofusho is commonly described as a form of social anxiety (social phobia), with the sufferer dreading and avoiding social contact. However, instead of a fear of embarrassing themselves or being harshly judged by others because of their social ineptness, sufferers of taijin kyofusho report a fear of offending or harming other people. The focus is thus on avoiding harm to others rather than to oneself.
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Whoever designed this viral ad campaign for Target should get a large bonus. It has been spectacular. Besides the positive press, they have even figured out a way to get negative comments for doing something nice.
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It's been a decade since I worked there, but at that time Target used employees and their families to model in their ads. Wonder if that's still the case?
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Not really sure about Rick Smith's reaction...

Basically what's happening is that Target made an ad that happened to have a trisomic kid in it but didn't mention it, and he thought that was so brilliant that he went:
"Hey look everybody! That kid's got down syndrome! That one on the left! LOOK! He's got DOWN SYNDROME I tell you! And nobody knows it! That's great!"

A real victory for inclusiveness.
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This was a really good thing until the media started in on it. Now everyone is making a huge deal out of a kid that just wants to feel normal.
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Toys R Us has been featuring special needs kids in their print fliers for quite some time now. I've always felt that kids are kids and like kid things no matter how they're born, so its nice to see them included as kids, not singled out as "special needs kids" a title like that can place extra mental burdens on an already self conscious mind.
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"Of course, if Target had made a big deal out of it, there would likely be ugly things said about cynicism and greed, so they did what the market would most reward them for doing – treat a child with Down Syndrome just the same as they would any other kid. No need for any special acts, regulation, or other government mischief. Just pure self-interest and the profit motive, working together to create a more tolerant, inclusive, and egalitarian world."
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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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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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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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