LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As Halloween quickly approaches, one costume at Target is receiving special attention as the retail titan is featuring a disabled girl in a printed ad for costumes.
Lucy Castillo, 8, has much in common with the child being featured in the ad, as they both suffer from the birth defect spina bifida.
“I think it kind of just shows her it’s possible for her, too,” Lucy’s mother Elizabeth Castillo said. “You don’t see it often, and when she’s out, everybody kind of stares at her.”
Target’s decision to feature a child with disabilities in a holiday mail ad has received ardent support from parents of children with disabilities.
Charmaine Cruz, whose son has Down syndrome, says starting to feature people with disabilities in advertisements could be a crucial step in promoting recognition and acceptance.
“If we don’t have images of people with special needs, then they don’t get a chance to be seen, to be accepted,” Cruz said. “It just opens the door for acceptance everywhere for them.”
Gail Williamson, a talent agent for people with disabilities, says more retailers are using clients such as hers in their advertising.
“With children this year, I’ve put them in Target ads, in Target commercials, Nordstrom ads, Toyota print ads and commercials and Nike. Nike had a kids commercial,” Williamson explained. “But in general, I’m always submitting to the ones who aren’t asking.
Many parents of children with disabilities say they hope more retailers will continue to increase the trend of using children with special needs in ads.
“They’re kids, just like everybody else,” Castillo said. “My daughter can do anything that any other little girl can do.”
Target says it is committed to showcasing its community’s diversity.