It’s a little difference in a shopping catalogue that has made the world of difference to at least one little girl.
An ad for Halloween costumes has included a model on crutches wearing every girl’s dream outfit – a blue Elsa dress from the animated hit Frozen. The Target advertisement has delighted parents of special needs children, prompting one mother to write an emotional Facebook post that has now gone viral.
“Dear Target, I love you. My daughter (with arm crutches and prosthetic legs) is going to flip when she sees this!” Jen Kroll writes. “Including children with special needs into advertising makes them less of a spectacle to the general public when they venture out into the real world. Normalising disabilities in children is priceless.”
The mother of three says it’s the first time she has seen a young model who resembles her daughter’s disability. “My heart nearly burst,” she tells Today Parents. “Our own daughter loves Elsa with every bit of her being and Target validated, in a public way, that little girls with AFOs (leg braces) and arm crutches could be princesses, too.”
Jerrensia, 5, joined the family on a medical visa in 2011 after Jen travelled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and met her in a Port-au-Prince orphanage.
Jerrensia’s hip sockets and muscles in her legs never properly developed, her knees were locked in a 90 degree angle and her feet were clubbed. Doctors had to amputate her legs two years ago and she now wears prosthetic legs and uses arm crutches.
“She has been running through life ever since. Jerrensia is nothing short of a light who radiates pure joy. She loves her kindergarten class, ballet, gymnastics, baseball, and downhill skiing. And of course, Disney princesses,” says Jen.
“I showed our children the ad after school last week…her million watt smile flashed and her eyes lit up, ‘Wow! Just like me’,”, Jen says.
A family video shows how Jerrensia used to get herself around before the operation:
They hope the Target ad can help expose others to children with special needs.
“We want the world to be a more beautiful, accepting place for them, where they will be seen for the content of their character rather than stared at for what are often perceived as scary differences,” Jen says.
It is not first time Target has featured children with disabilities in its advertising. In 2012, the retailer cast a little boy with Down syndrome in a print catalogue and in 2014 used another model with Down syndrome to worldwide acclaim.
Locally, children’s brand Eeni Meeni Miini Moh has also featured a young boy with Down syndrome in fashion shoots for several collections in recent years.
(via Today Parents)