14-year-old Sophia Pineda is fiercely challenging the limits imposed on those born with Down Syndrome. With the help of her parents, the Virginia-native of Peruvian descent is monetizing her talents as an artist by selling her work, which includes paintings, notecards and even handbags, online.
Last summer, her parents noticed her artistic aptitude, while watching her choose colors very deliberately and for very specific purposes. Soon, they began showcasing her work online. Friends and family were immediately struck by her skill and began inquiring about purchasing her pieces, which inspired her mother and father to create Sophiola, an online venue to exhibit and sell her work.
“This is something that she loves and she really is good at it, so let’s see if we could give her that little bit of a boost,” her mom Carol Kando-Pineda said in an interview with a local NBC news channel.
Although Pineda has had tremendous support from her family, the teenager’s father says children with disabilities are still deeply stigmatized in our culture. “In the Latino community, there’s still very much a stigma having a child with a disability,” Andre Pineda told the news outlet. “For many folks, you’re trying to assimilate as it is. My father, who’s deceased, would have had a very hard time, at first, accepting her but then getting to know her, he would’ve been fine.”
Andre, who marvels at his daughter’s great talent, said her future is “very bright.”