Jamie Sumner and her six-year-old son Charlie, went to their local supermarket on a Wednesday afternoon. 

 

They we wandering the clothes aisles, Sumner pushing Charlie in a cart. 

 

"Charlie is six and tall for his age, like Gumby tall," she explained to Her View from the Home. "And Target is one of the few places he still fits buckled in to the top of the shopping cart. Charlie also has cerebral palsy, and so I count it as a win when I don’t have to haul his wheelchair out of the van and try to steer both him and the cart like pinballs down the aisle. 

 

Suddenly a sign caught her eye, and Charlie clapping with excitement. 

 

"At first I couldn't figure out why. But then it happened . . . Charlie smiled and clapped and pointed at it. He laughed and signed 'more'. The boy on the sign in the trendy camo pants and cap also had a walker.

 

"I had paused because I had seen our 'normal' in a place I had never seen it before." 

 

 

Sumner was overwhelmed by Charlie's reaction to the sign. 

 

"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."

 

 

Diversity and accessibility is something that Sumner fights for on a daily basis. 

 

"I spend so much mental, emotional, and physical effort making sure Charlie is included at school, at church, on the playground, and at the restaurant that it was with a surreal sense of relief that I realised here, at least, he already was.

 

"It was evidence that someone had gone before and made a way for us. Not everything had to be hard. We did not always have to be the first to break boundaries or forge a new path through the jungle of the able-bodied world. For once, a track had already been laid."

 

While showing a child with special needs might be a trivial issue for some, for Sumner and for mothers like her, it means the world. 

 

"We made three trips past the sign so Charlie could wave at it. It sounds like such a small thing, but for us it is a nod from the world that we are being acknowledged and supported.  It’s just the beginning, I hope.

 

"I hope more disabilities and special needs pop up in clothing ads and commercials and on mainstream tv. But for now, I am so grateful to Target for making a start and for making us feel at home." 

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