This is one of the first blog posts I have made for my #SPED312 class that really connects with me on so many levels. Not many know but I absolutely love photography, especially taking portrait shots. I found an article on feedly, about a woman with a daughter who has down syndrome. Since her daughter was born she had been taking pictures of her, as every mother does. She began to wonder why children with disabilities are not photographed more, represented in advertisement, or shown off to everyone as being just as beautiful as any other child. I think this is such an important concept for EVERYONE to understand, not just a mother of a child with a disability.
Kate Driscoll, of Palos Park, Illinois (my home town!), never expected to have a daughter with down syndrome. No mother imagines one of her six children to have a disability; she was incredibly discouraged at first but after Grace was brought into the world her perspective changed completely. As she took pictures of her daughter as she grew up Kate thought, “The one thing I didn’t want people to do is to feel sorry for me or to feel sorry for my daughter, I used those pictures to say, ‘Look! She’s beautiful!’”
Kate began wondering why such beautiful children, who are not defined by their disabilities, weren’t featured in more mainstream media and advertisements. She began to work with a father of a boy with a disability. They began getting local children involved and taking photos to display their true beauty. Over time, these children with disabilities began getting attention from companies and were getting job offers to model their clothing.
“Driscoll says she hopes the subliminal power of advertising can make the world a more tolerant place. She says, “Advertising is such a vehicle for change. People make decisions based on what they see on TV and in the newspaper. The more the media embraces people with disabilities, the more people will realize that people with disabilities are capable. It all comes down to the fact that I want my daughter to have a job when she grows up. I want her to be independent, and I want her to have opportunities. I hope that through this work more people will be exposed and more people will understand that just because you have a diagnosis, doesn’t mean that you’re not capable of living a perfectly happy, independent life.”
I absolutely agree and love this statement. It is one of the truest statements I have ever read and I wish everyone would understand it. The media and in turn, the world, must realize that people with disabilities are capable. Having a disability does not ruin one’s life nor their families’; these children are still extremely capable of “living a perfectly happy, independent life.” I would absolutely love to see more adults and children with disabilities in the media and advertisement to show the world that everyone has potential and can make great strides in this world.
“Changing the Face of Beauty”: http://www.changingthefaceofbeauty.org/
Kate Driscoll’s personal blog documenting her family: http://5boysand1girlmake6.com/