Oftentimes, ads by major clothing companies depict the “perfect” body types and represent images that hurt individuals’ self-image and self-esteem. This is why we are so excited to see major clothing company Gap do something unusual: feature a child with Cerebral Palsy.
The back-to-school ad, a photo of a group of children seated for a class portrait, features a child with Cerebral Palsy sitting in a wheelchair in the second row. The girl is seven-year-old Ines Mitsouras. Her mother, Melinda Mitsouras, commented Gap’s Facebook post and said, “Love this so much!!!! The girl in the wheel chair is my daughter and love the fact that the Gap promotes inclusion for everyone! She is just a regular girl who loves shopping, dolls and the gap, but has Cerebral Palsy! Thank you Gap for showing us to celebrate and accept our differences!!!!!!”
While many clothing companies are attempting to show more diversity in their ads, most focus on one area: race. Just as important is to include children and individuals with disabilities. In the photo, the smile on Ines’ face is as big as the other children’s smiles and serves to show that she is just like any other child who likes to laugh, play and have fun.
These kinds of ads are a step in the right direction. Increasingly, we’re seeing children with disabilities in ads, but it’s still not the norm. – which is why parents get excited when they see these ads. They know that the more people see kids with disabilities in ads, or on TV, the more that people will better understand and accept them as any other individual. We hope to see the day when children and individuals with disabilities in ads are the norm.
To learn about how you, as a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, can advocate for your child, visit CerebralPalsy.org.
Visit our page on acceptance for 10 tips for parents.
For more information and resources on acceptance and inclusion, call the MyChild™ Call Center at (800) 692-4453.