With over 75.7K likes on Instagram, the new face of Gerber Baby is bringing awareness and positivity to a community often recieving demeaning remarks.

Since the Gerber Products Company announced its 2018 spokesbaby Lucas Warren, the news has spread across social media.

Aside from his award-winning smile, the 18-month-old has another unique quality to him. Warren is the first Gerber Baby to have Down Syndrome.

After scrolling through dozens of the post’s comments, I’ve discovered that Warren is surely adored by the public.

He has also appeared on television with his parents who were invited to share their reasoning for participating in the contest and their hopes for more acceptance of babies born with genetic disorders.

Growing up, I was always told that everyone should be accepted no matter who they are and should not be judged on clothing, skin color or behaviors, even if they didn’t reflect my own.

I had always been surrounded by people who would have been considered disabled or handicapped.

Unfortunately, for most people, it is difficult to be understanding because we have unfair expectations for others.

In elementary school, I remember many phone calls I had with an uncle of mine.

Because I was young, I thought it was humorous that he laughed at everything I said.

I also believed that his letters written in broken English were just because he was bad at school work.

It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I fully understood why, even though he was older than me, he always acted so much younger; my uncle has Shaken Baby Syndrome.

He may be older, bigger, and stronger than me, but mentally my uncle will always be around eight or nine years old.

Although Shaken Baby Syndrome is not a genetic disorder, my experiences with my uncle have taught me to always be friendly towards everyone under similar circumstances.

I was able to view my uncle and other family members living with physical and mental disorders as people and not as cases to be dealt with, and I’ve learned to treat others with the same level of understanding and respect.

I quickly found out that not everybody was kind towards those with disabilities.

In school, my classmates criticized their speech and behaviors, labeling them as “speds.”

Throughout my whole life I have seen grown adults with a variety of mental or physical diversities laughed at on television, and portrayed as unintelligent and unable to be independent.

If children with Down Syndrome and other disorders were portrayed in a positive manner on all medias, I believe more people would be accepting of them.

If society could normalize genetic disorders, it wouldn’t shock us every time someone connected to a syndrome did something extraordinary.

We would be amazed by the work done by the person, not because someone with “special needs” surpassed a social expectation.

We all go through life a little differently.

No matter how we were born or what happened after, we are all on this earth together.

CNN.com said, “[Lucas’ mother Courtney] Warren told the TODAY show she hopes that having [her son] as a Gerber Baby will shed some light on the special needs community.”

Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at ainchierca@kscequinox.com

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