On his Instagram Story, Jackman shared a viral video that The Good News Movement’s account reposted from Our Blind Side’s account. In the video, Hilda Dunford, the mother of blind Utah middle school student, Ashton, asked other parents to teach their children about blind students and encourage them to remember to be kind and inclusive towards their classmates with disabilities.
“Teach them to not only be kind but to look past differences this year and make a new friend like my son,” Dunford wrote in overlaid text over a clip showcasing her son navigating a school hallway with a cane. In the caption on the original post, the mother shared her fears as her son hasn’t had the easiest time in school due to his disabilities: “Ashton starts middle school on Wednesday and I think I’m more nervous than he is. I just want him to be able to find some good friends this year. Middle school is a hard transition and all I ever want for him is to feel included and to know he belongs with his peers and the rest of the [students] in the school.”
She continued, “Being the only blind student was hard in elementary school and I know it’s going to be even harder in middle school for my son. So please talk to your kids and tell them about children with disabilities this year. Tell them about my son who practiced walking around the school all summer just to prepare for his first day.
Dunford implored parents to tell their children “to include someone someone who is different and give them a chance to get to know a new friend”. She also expressed that she hopes Ashton “will come back home smiling” after his first day of middle school because he’s made a new friend.
She concluded her caption: “Inclusion starts at home and parents should talk to their kids about these things before sending them to school every year. It will make a difference for my son if you have these kinds of talks with your kids.”
The X-Men star posted a viral video from The Good News Movement’s page onto his Instagram Story, writing: “If you know how I can be in touch with Ashton please DM me. I’d like to wish him an amazing new school year.” He concluded the plea: “Thanks for the help! HJ.”
It didn’t take long for Jackman’s plea to his followers to reach Dunford, who shared a clip of her son singing along to Jackman’s song “A Million Dreams” from the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman, writing: "Ashton has always loved Hugh Jackman and he shared this. I messaged him.”
Ashton reportedly suffers from septo-optic dysplasia (SOD). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the rare disorder - previously known as de Morsier syndrome - “causes optic nerve abnormalities” that affect the septum pellucidum, the eyes, and the development of the pituitary gland.
The Independent has contacted Hilda Dunford for comment.