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Mother weeps in Target aisle at son's reaction to ad featuring child with disabilities

Her son, who has cerebral palsy, was delighted by the ad in their local Target.
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Looking for some life-affirming content this sunny Friday? Check this out.

Author, essayist and mother Jamie Sumner was brought to tears in the aisles of her local Target recently, when her son reacted to a display ad showing a child with disabilities modeling clothes while using a walker.

Her 6-year-old son Charlie has cerebral palsy, and when he saw the advert, Sumner said he "smiled and clapped and pointed at it," and then "laughed and signed 'more'."

"I had paused because I had seen our 'normal' in a place I had never seen it before," she wrote in her blog.

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"I watched Charlie watch the sign. I watched the recognition of kin for kin, like for like. And it was beautiful. Yes, I started crying in the aisle.

"Yes, other people stopped and looked. And then they looked at the sign and they smiled. It was such an unexpected moment of connectedness among strangers in the middle of Target in the middle of a week on an otherwise ordinary day."

“Thank you Target for this,” Sumner wrote on Instagram. "It made my son smile and clap and sign for ‘more’ and so you have my whole heart. Keep it coming."

Sumner notes that her Target is one of the few places where Charlie still fits in a shopping cart, so she doesn't have to "haul his wheelchair out of the van."

She shared a photo of the ad on her Instagram page, with her picture and blog post being picked up by national media including the Huffington Post, attracting the attention of – among others – legendary newsman Dan Rather.

Target's efforts toward inclusivity

Minneapolis-based Target has for a few years now been striving to make its advertising and shopping experience more inclusive.

It won plaudits in October 2015 when a girl with disabilities featured prominently in one of its Halloween costume advertising campaigns.

And its Cat & Jack children's clothing line, which the boy above was modeling, includes a selection of "sensory-friendly" items that are more comfortable for children living with disabilities.

It also launched a new line of "adaptive apparel" for children with disabilities this past October.

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