Kaylieann Steinbach is a very cute three-year-old from Rocklin, California, where she lives with her parents, Austin and Jami. That’s pretty much par for the course, though, right? Well, no, because little Kaylieann is certainly not your typical toddler.
For one thing, Kaylieann suffers from a medical condition that makes her a bit unique. The condition means that while she wasn’t born deaf, she has since lost 75 percent of her hearing across both of her ears. That’s why the little girl has to wear a hearing aid.
However, it wasn’t Kaylieann’s hearing problems that recently pushed her into the limelight. No, Kaylieann became a star of both local and international media because of something she did at school.
It all started when the three-year-old was getting ready for a special day at her pre-school. The teachers had previously warned the parents that it was picture day and that every child would have to be photographed.
And so Kaylieann got to thinking about what she might like to wear for the occasion. When she saw that her dad had already chosen an outfit for her, then, she wasn’t impressed. No, she had a very different idea.
That’s right, this little three-year-old knew exactly how she wanted to express herself in the school photo. And when she showed her dad the surprising outfit she had chosen, he simply couldn’t tell her no.
A short while later, Kaylieann proudly strutted into school wearing a Superman outfit ready for her portrait. But it wouldn’t be until the photograph was printed that mom would see what her daughter had done.
In the picture, the three-year-old smiles sweetly in her superhero outfit, clutching a Superman doll. Her dad, Austin, later told People just how much his daughter absolutely adores the toy. “She sleeps with it, takes baths with it — it’s with her right now at school!” he revealed.
So when the photograph came back, it was finally time to reveal all to mom. How did it go down? “She thought the picture was adorable,” said Austin. And how could she not?
But did the school mind that Kaylieann had dressed as a superhero for her school picture? Of course not. “Her school is amazing,” Austin told the Huffington Post. “They always love and look forward to ‘the superhero of the day’ or what she’s picked out to wear.”
Yes, it turns out that this was not the first time his daughter has donned a superhero costume. In fact, little Kaylieann has been known to wear a variety of outfits to school. These outfits have included those of Spider-Man, Batman and even modern heroine Anna from Frozen.
After the parents received the photograph, Austin made the decision to share it on reddit. And before long, it went more viral than he ever thought it could.
In fact, the photograph has been “upvoted” on the site nearly 50,000 times, making Kaylieann something of an internet sensation. Plus, a lot of people spotted her hearing aids, and this opened up a huge online conversation.
“I couldn’t believe people noticed,” Austin told People. And not only did they notice, but lots of people also started commenting on the photograph to share advice and pointers for Kaylieann’s development.
Well-wishers gave the family advice on everything from how to deal with bullies to the best hearing treatment options available. Kaylieann’s father, meanwhile, told People that he couldn’t believe how the deaf community responded to the photograph.
In fact, he has received so many kind messages that he told Huffington Post he has not been able to read them all. He added, “I could never have imagined how much her picture could have touched so many.”
Austin described the whole thing as “an eye opening experience.” And let’s hope that the Steinbachs can take some useful pointers away with them once all the buzz surrounding the photograph has died down.
There’s no doubt that Kaylieann is a little superstar, though. Or should we say superhero? But the real question is, where did she get her passion for Superman from in the first place?
Well, it’s all down to her father, it seems. In September 2016, Austin took her to the San Francisco Comic Con, which would inspire most kids to become a superhero.
Despite the three-year-old’s hearing problems, then, she’s clearly a little girl full of spirit. So whatever Kaylieann decides to do in life, she’ll always have the photograph to remind her that deep down, she’s a hero!