This Girl Is Paving The Way For Kids With Disabilities In The Fashion And Advertising Worlds

Changing the face of beauty.

With the summer coming to an end and a bunch of the nation's kids returning to their classrooms, there's still a significant group of children who don't really feel like they're a part of the entire back-to-school shebang.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 13 percent of all public school students receive special education services due to a variety of learning disabilities. It can range from an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read or write, to intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and emotional disturbances.

For whatever reason, though, none of the back-to-school advertisements reflect this demographic. 

But that's about to change. For good.


Meet Cora Slocum, a 4-year-old with Down syndrome who just landed a major modeling contract with U.S.-based footwear company Livie & Luca.

Slocum is the center of attention in Livie & Luca's Fall 2015 back-to-school campaign, which also promotes the viral #ImGoingBackToSchoolToo hashtag trend.

'We have the opportunity to change the way media portrays beauty and hope to have kids like Cora feel seen.'

– Brittany Suzuki, Livie & Luca Brand Designer told The Mighty.

But the idea to create a back to school campaign that would encompass people of all abilities was not a new one.

It was originally created by Chicago-based photographer and mother-of-six Katie Driscoll.

Raising a daughter with Down syndrome of her own, Driscoll noticed that children with disabilities are underrepresented by brands and advertisers.

Her solution? Create a campaign that does.

With the help of her nonprofit organization Changing the Face of Beauty, Driscoll managed to do a photo shoot that promoted inclusiveness of children with disabilities.

After Driscoll's self-initiated campaign went viral, there was no turning back ...

Per Katie Driscoll, her nonprofit already influenced more than 100 companies in four countries to change their advertising and include models with disabilities.

'I believe globally we’re changing the way people look at models as well as people with differences, and that makes me so very happy,' Driscoll told ABC7 News.

She'd also recently signed model Amanda Booth and her son Micah, who has Down syndrome, to become the first ambassador of Changing the Face of Beauty.

"I understand firsthand what being in the media means to other people and how that affects the way you're treated. It is that reason exactly that inclusion in that realm will open the rest of the worlds eyes," Booth explained about her decision to join forces.

The #ImGoingBackToSchoolToo campaign has sparked positive responses from families who are raising children with disabilities.

People are celebrating the initiative by posting pictures of their kids prepping to go back to school.


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