This Photo Series Features Children With Down Syndrome Dressed as Disney Characters
Special needs teacher Nicole Perkins is trying to show why "the world is a much better place with people who have Down Syndrome in it."
Nicole Louise Perkins, 24, is a special needs teacher based in Birmingham, U.K. She's also a part-time photographer who is trying to show the world that children with Down Syndrome are a blessing. So, in 2018, she created a photo series called "Down Right Beautiful," which featured children of all ages with Down Syndrome, along with stories written by their parents about what it's like to have a child with Down Syndrome. Inspired by the success of the campaign, she created a new one this year called "Down With Disney," which featured even more babies and children with Down Syndrome, this time dressed as characters from Disney movies.
"According to some estimates, the abortion rate in the U.K. for families that find out their baby would have Down Syndrome is 90 percent, which I find heartbreaking," Perkins told Best Life. "I'm around children with Down Syndrome a lot of the time and, honestly, they make my life so much better."
"Given that last year's project was so informative, I wanted to create something that was a bit more fun and more of a little celebration," Perkins said. "I'm a huge Disney fan, so I thought this would be perfect."
On Nov. 15, her photos were shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, where they went viral, gaining over 52,000 likes and over 40,000 shares in just a few days.
People loved both the photos and the beautiful message behind them.
"This is truly amazing," one Facebook user wrote. "The joy in their faces. I hope Disney sees this and grants them all passes to visit and live these photos for real."
"So lovely," another Facebook user wrote. "The smiles are so genuine. I'm sitting here grinning from ear to ear."
Some even shared their own photos of their children with Down Syndrome enjoying the magic of Disney. Like this little lion who can't wait to be king.
Or this precious Beauty and the Beast duo.
Perkins was thrilled that the series was so warmly received, especially here in America, where an estimated 67 percent of abortions are due to Down Syndrome diagnoses, according to The New York Times.
"I hope my campaigns will show people there is so much more to people with Down Syndrome than what you read on the internet or are told in hospitals," Perkins said. "They are the best people you could ever meet and the world is a much better place with people who have Down Syndrome in it."
And for more on the magic of Disney and children with special needs, check out These Photos of Snow White Comforting a Little Boy With Autism Are Truly Magical.