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article imageTarget and Nordstrom use Down syndrome boy in their fashion ads

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By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 7, 2012 in Lifestyle
New York - Ryan is a 6-tyear old the blonde-haired, blue-eyed model. He also has Downs syndrome and two big retailers, Target and Nordstrom have selected him for their clothing ads. Neither store made a big deal about it, and Ryan's father is thrilled.
He's just an extremely cute kid, and both Target and Nordstrom have used him as a model with other young children posing in children's clothing. Ryan's dad who writes a blog about his son, Noah'sDad.com applauds the stores for including him in the ads, and for making a statement without making a fuss about it. Ryan appears in the Target ad this week and was in the Nordstrom catalog last year.
"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.”
Mr. Smith told the New York Daily News that the ad could help people understand that children with Down syndrome are typical kids.
“Some people imagine children born with Down syndrome as sick, or unable to do many of the same tasks that a typical child does. However, this is not true.”
Ryan's mother blogged on her husband's website,
“The whole process of modeling is an extreme confidence booster in him. We are honored that Ryan is making the Down syndrome community proud. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He makes us better parents, and a better family.”
The Hollywood Reporter writes that Down syndrome children and adults have been slowly appearing in the entertainment world. A 16-month-old Down syndrome girl, Taya Kennedy, was recently signed to an British agency and now major firms are clamoring to cast her. Last year, Johnny Depp's life partner Vanessa Paradis took a part of the mother of a Down syndrome child in Jean-Marc Vallee's well-received film, Cafe de Flore.
Smith says these are signs of what people with Down syndrome can achieve.
“Today, people with Down syndrome hold down jobs, get married, learn to drive, and take public transportation, and are productive members of society. There’s never better time in the history of the world for a child to be born with Down syndrome.”
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