Mom’s Hope of Making Son With Down Syndrome a Model Goes Viral

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 21, 2016   |   9:41AM   |   Washington, DC

Fifteen-month-old Asher Nash’s adorable smile has become an internet sensation.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Asher’s popularity began with a casting call for child models for OshKosh B’Gosh, a popular children’s clothing company. Meagan Richter Nash, Asher’s mom, saw the ad and submitted her son’s photo to the talent agency. The Buford, Georgia toddler has Down syndrome, and his family has been working hard to demonstrate the beauty of his life to the world.

“I want the world to see just how amazing he is, and just how amazing other people with Down syndrome are,” Nash said.

After a few months went by and she didn’t hear anything, Nash said she contacted the talent agency to ask if there was any news about her son’s photo. The response she received concerned her.

Here’s more from the report:

The agency told Nash that Asher’s photos hadn’t even been submitted because OshKosh “didn’t specify that they wanted a baby with special needs.”

That didn’t sit right.

“My first thought,” Nash said, “was, ‘Well, did they say they did not want a baby with special needs?'”

Nash eventually started working with a campaign called Changing the Face of Beauty and, about two weeks ago, took to Facebook to lobby OshKosh to use her son in an ad.

The company noticed. Nash said she and her son have a meeting with a marketing representative from OshKosh next week.

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In a statement to the newspaper, a company spokesperson said they are looking forward to meeting the toddler and his family.

“Since we became aware of Ms. Nash’s request, our team has reached out to her directly to better understand her perspective and provide additional information about our casting process,” the OshKosh spokesperson said. “We agree there is an opportunity for greater representation of children with special needs in advertising. We look forward to meeting with Asher and his family, as well as taking steps to enhance the representation of diverse children in our marketing.”

People on the internet noticed, too. Asher’s quirky, adorable smile caught the eyes of more than 90,000 people on the Kids with Down Syndrome Facebook page. The Mighty, another popular online site about children with disabilities, also highlighted Asher’s story.

The Nash family is excited about Asher’s future.

“My intentions were not for me to tell anyone my son needs to be in there over anyone else,” his mother said. “I’m really just trying to take a stand for him and other children and babies and adults like him.”

Because of families like the Nashes, more children with special needs are excelling in life. Madeline Stuart and Jamie Brewer, two women with Down syndrome, both are celebrated fashion models. Others have become actors, musicians, government leaders and business owners. Their stories are powerful example of why every human being is valuable and deserves a chance at life.