These children with Down syndrome dressed as Disney characters will give you the dose of good vibes you needed today!
This photo series is part of the “Down with Disney” project led by UK-based photographer, Nicole Louise Perkins. She started this campaign as a way to celebrate children with Down syndrome and expel the harmful stereotypes that people hear and read about the condition in the news and social media.
“The abortion rate in the U.K. for families that find out their baby would have Down syndrome is that 90% will go for a termination. I find these statistics heart breaking,” she told The Mighty via email.
Nicole did a series of photoshoots with kids who had Down syndrome and had them dressed as various Disney characters. The cast of The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Toy Story were featured, among many others.
The photographer’s awareness campaign for Down syndrome began last year when she launched the “Down Right Beautiful” campaign. It featured images of 32 individuals with the condition – including babies, children, teenagers, and young adults – along with their stories and the advice their parents would give to families who have just received a diagnosis.
Her project gained a lot of interest, so she decided to create another one this year that is similar to it. This time around, Nicole thought of adding a magical twist to it that everyone would surely love.
Like many others, Nicole is a lover of all things Disney. So, for this year’s campaign, she thought of doing a photoshoot where children with Down syndrome are dressed as some of the most beloved Disney characters!
Down Syndrome Awareness Month occurs every October, and throughout that time, Nicole shared the adorable shots of each photo session she did with the children.
The pictures went viral and the touched the hearts of millions around the world. Nicole is glad that through these photos, people were able to appreciate the beauty and happiness that people with Down syndrome bring to their families and friends.
“The response has been incredible, and it was so much fun creating the images. I have met some amazing families in the process, and I’m so glad to see the joy the images of their children has brought to so many people,” she said.
Despite its success, the Down with Disney campaign wasn’t without its challenges.
“The greatest challenge was knowing when to stop. I could have gone on forever with these photo shoots but the props and everything is just so expensive,” Nicole said.
But to her, all the struggles she went through were well worth it, especially after seeing how successful the project was.
Aside from her photography business, Nicole works fulltime as a teacher for children with special needs. She initially wanted to study photography in college but worried about getting a job for it immediately after graduation. So instead, she chose to study childcare – another one of her passions.
“My last placement at college was in a special needs school. It seriously changed my life, I still work there to this day due to falling in love with people who have special needs,” she said. “I taught myself photography on the side and started up my own business with that. When I was happy with where I was photography-wise, I thought I would put my two loves in life together.”
Nicole has helped so many parents of children with Down syndrome overcome their fears about the condition and see the real beauty of it through the photographs she shared with the world. Thank you, Nicole, for using your talents for the greater good!
See some more photos from the Down with Disney project in the gallery below.