In an era that celebrates diversity, you never know who is going to make a very public appearance next. Enter little children with Down syndrome, modelling toys and clothes for popular US brands. Lili, a 2-year-old from Budapest, appears in a new commercial for a Fisher-Price toy, and 15-month-old Asher will soon be modelling for the OshKosh children’s clothing line.
These two little stars, who feature in an article on the New York Times’ Well blog this week, signal a certain momentum in a trend that has seen people with Down syndrome appearing on at least one TV show and more recently on New York catwalks and in ads for Target, McDonald’s and other brands.
In terms of visibility and recognition of people with Down syndrome, this is a welcome development. The assumption on the part of advertisers that their market will react favourably to models with the features associated with the condition (especially, cute little kids) is encouraging at a time when mothers carrying babies diagnosed with Down syndrome find themselves under pressure from doctors to terminate – and in the US around 30 percent do.
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