Local boy with special needs lands national ad

Posted at 1:09 PM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 14:09:37-05

A new trend in advertising landed a Milwaukee boy with special needs on the pages of a national flyer.

His mother said it's not about getting her son publicity, it's about sending a message to other families.

“We really just wanted to share Henry with the world," said Beth Wisniewski, Henry’s mom. "He's got such a great personality and he's of course, a total ham."

Wisnieski didn't always know her 3-year-old would be like this.

“I didn't really know anything about Down syndrome. I was very ignorant to it," she said. "One of the misconceptions I had was no one is going to want to be around him because he's different, and it's actually been the exact opposite."

Henry ended up in a national flyer for Kohl's, modeling kids’ pajamas and giving hope to other parents of special needs children.

“A couple of the stories just made me cry, because I saw myself when I was pregnant and I saw my fear and my hesitation and my apprehension about how society would accept Henry," Wisnieski said. "If I can allay some of those fears by sharing Henry, we're happy to do it.

Brandis Ohlsson runs Ohlsson Model & Talent and is Henry’s agent. She said the industry is moving in a more inclusive direction. She points to Dove's real women campaign and says stores like Target, Kohl’s and Toys R Us are using more kids with special needs in their ads.

“He's adorable and he has this great personality, and I think more than anything else that's what's important today,” Brandis Ohlsson said. "I think that media is just kind of recognizing that people want to see people like themselves in their ads."

Henry's mom said she is amazed with all of the attention.

“We are blown away by all of the attention Henry has gotten from this," she said. "I almost wish there wasn't the attention because then it's just this is the way it should be, right?”