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A Sign Of Acceptance

January 2, 2007, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

A Sign Of Acceptance
You see the symbols and never have to think twice about their meaning.

From the restroom, to a handicapped parking spot to a bus stop; someone had to think up the universal signs which direct people to the appropriate places. 

Now a Sioux Falls man holds the honor of coming up with the international breastfeeding symbol.

Matt Daigle used to spend his days as a corporate art director. Now he's a stay-at-home dad for one-year-old Hayden. Daigle is teaching Hayden sign language, like the word please, because Daigle is deaf. 

Daigle says, "Oh I love it, every minute of it. When Hayden was born I realized how important that was and I wanted to stay home and grow with him and teach him signs. That's been the fun part. He gives me more opportunities to be more creative in my projects being at home." 

Projects like drawing cartoons and illustrating children's books.
But one of this graphic artist's biggest challenges has been coming up with a new icon to let moms know where to locate breastfeeding facilities. A friend told him about the contest through "Mothering Magazine." 

Daigle says, "So I went for it and thought it would be a great challenge to try to design this logo and I was interested in that type of work, so why not?" 

Kay Daigle says, "There were entries every where; from Bangkok, from England to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and his symbol won. It was a thrill, absolute thrill. 

Daigle says, "I was very surprised and excited. I'm still excited. I get goose bumps every time I think about it." 

Kay says, “I think being deaf gives him the edge in developing icon, symbol or any graphic work that's very visual and communicates quickly with least amount of distractions." 

And the fact that a breastfeeding symbol came from a man? 

Daigle says, "I got a lot of e-mails from women out there congratulating me on my work. They just said they loved it. They just said it was very effective." 

Daigle says he got his inspiration from his wife who breastfed their son. They faced a number of typical challenges in finding appropriate places to breastfeed while traveling. 

Kay says, "We had on several occasions been in different situations where we didn't know whether or not breastfeeding facilities were available or offered at all." 

They're hoping Daigle's symbol helps all women facing that dilemma. 

Kay says, “It would have been great to walk into mall, see the information booth and see that symbol or see a symbol that directed us clearly and concisely to the place where we could breastfeed Hayden." 

The Daigle's were surprised to see their symbol being used in protests at airports across the country, after a nursing mother was kicked off a flight in Vermont in November for breastfeeding on the plane. 

Kay says, "That was a complete thrill for us to see women wearing the icon on t-shirts, tote bags, stickers stuck to children." 

The Daigles haven't actually seen Matt's symbol in a public place yet, but look forward to the day they do. 

Daigle says, “So many airports are starting to use the symbol. I'm hoping it happens in Sioux Falls as well. I want to see it." 

Kay says, "I'm so excited we were a part of it and Matt could come up with the symbol to make breast feeding more acceptable in today's society." 

Daigle's symbol is no part of the public domain and can be downloaded on line. 
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