Kmart’s Latest Catalog Features Children With Disabilities


Kmart Australia is making strides to promote disability inclusion.

The company’s latest catalog features children with disabilities, including 11-year-old Cooper (below), who has dystonic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. After replying to a casting callout in Melbourne, Cooper earned an audition and eventually a modeling job. “It is something he has always wanted to try,” his mother, Bron Leeks, told The Mighty in an email.

cooper holding easter egg in kmart ad
Photo via Kmart catalog
cooper smiling on set
Photo courtesy of Bron Leeks
cooper being photographed for kmart
Photo courtesy of Bron Leeks

Cooper said the best part of the experience was going to the studio and getting to dress up in cool clothes. “I got to choose some music to listen to, and the photographer and all the people made me laugh a lot,” he told The Mighty.

His mom hopes when people see the ad, they just see a typical kid. She told The Mighty:

Right now it’s a big deal that mainstream media are finally including children with varying abilities. One day it won’t be a big deal it will be the norm. For now I want them to see a child looking forward to Easter who happens to use a walker because he happens to have a disability. His disability is part of him. He is proud of who he is, he lives an amazing full life. Disability is not something to be pitied. [The ad] “normalizes” things a bit, and it gets conversations started about inclusion and disability, which is always a good thing.

(Bonus: You can read more about this family on their blog about accessibility and travel.)

cooper looking at himself in a kmart ad
Photo courtesy of Bron Leeks
cooper holding up the catalog featuring him
Photo courtesy of Bron Leeks

Katie Driscoll, President of “Changing the Face of Beauty” — an organization that promotes disability inclusion in the media — is thrilled to see Kmart Australia send a message like this.

“People with disabilities shop and buy products every day. It is good that retailers around the world are representing them and taking notice of their buying power,” Driscoll told The Mighty in an email. “If we want a more inclusive world, the disability community must be represented as a value to our society… [This ad] says we see you, you matter and we appreciate you buying our products. It is that simple.”

You can view Kmart Australia’s catalog here. The book also features a model with Down syndrome. Kmart has not yet responded to The Mighty’s request for his name.

little boy with down syndrome playing with star wars toys in kmart catalog
Photo via Kmart catalog

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Other

woman and her son with autism

6 Things You May Not Know About My Child With Developmental Delay

The first diagnosis my son ever had was global developmental delay, and like so many, I understood this to mean he was a little bit behind his peers but would probably, in time and with support, catch up. He was only a year old when we were told he was struggling and not meeting key milestones like sitting [...]

What I’ve Learned From the ‘Village’ That Supports My Special Needs Family

There’s an African proverb you may have heard: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Hillary Clinton wrote a book in the 1990’s using that concept, and in 2014, Pope Francis had Italian students and teachers chanting the mantra. I’m sure many of you can probably agree this is true with any child. Many parents [...]

The Day It Hit Me That ‘Chronic’ Illness Means ‘For Good’

Chronic illness has been a part of my life for four years now. Clearly, chronic means “of a long duration.” I thought this would have sunk in by now, and as days passed, learning how to cope would become easier and clearer. To my surprise, I thought wrong and was not prepared for accepting that [...]

My Biggest Problem With Social Service Agencies for People With Disabilities

Does this scenario sound familiar? You enter into a social service agency designated to help people with disabilities, survey the room, and no one looks like they can relate to your struggle? Sometimes you may be met with confused looks, a placating smirk, or a generic answer for all issues. I have always hoped to enter into one of [...]