Photo Credit: Crystal Barbee Photography
If you've been on Facebook in the last 3 months you've probably seen a picture of Asher Nash! His Mom, Meagan, submitted some photos to a casting agency to hopefully land a photoshoot with Carter's. The agency didn't submit them because they hadn't specifically asked for a model with "special needs". Meagan decided to post the story on Facebook and it went viral!
As a company that values our Strider riders of all abilities we wanted to highlight Asher's story and hopefully add to the larger dialogue on inclusion. We asked his Mom some questions and she shared a great photo of him (below) trying out the new Strider rocking base! We have no doubt that soon he'll be striding around with that perfect little smile!
Strider (S): Tell us a little about your family.
Meagan Nash (MN): We live in Buford , Ga. My husband is 31 and works in glass, and I'm 27 and am a stay at home mom. Our daughter Addison is 8. She's a competition cheerleader, and is also in a STEM and robotics club. Addison is a huge advocate for her brother and the Down Syndrome community. Asher is 15 months and loves to laugh and play with his toys. We love to go camping and our family vacation spot is the beach.
S: Would you tell us a little about Asher's diagnosis?
MN: We found out Asher would have Down Syndrome when we were 12 weeks pregnant. Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. This extra genetic material manifests itself in a number of ways, most notably intellectual and developmental delays, and recognizable physical characteristics.
S: How does Asher's diagnosis impact his life?
MN: Asher's diagnosis impacts his life in many ways. It means he might look a little different then other babies --Or that hitting his milestones will be challenging at times. One thing it doesn't do is define who he is as a person. Asher will do whatever it is he wants to do in his life.
S: What led you to act when you heard back from the casting agency?
MN: When they contacted me about the post? The agency emailed me in regards to a casting for Carters. When they told me they did not submit his pictures I was very hurt and confused. I wondered how many other agencies in Georgia or the US thought the same way and so I went online and started researching.
S: Were you surprised by how quickly the story spread on social media?
MN: I was surprised that world took to Asher's photos like they did. It makes me so proud as his Mom that they see what we see in him.
S: Have you had to interact with people who don't understand why inclusion matters? What do you say to them?
MN: Yes! I interact with people who don't understand why inclusion matters all the time and I am so glad I do because it gives me a chance to spread awareness and teach them exactly why it is so important. I typically talk about Asher and how he will want to be accepted around his peers in school, work, and the community he lives in just like any typical person would. We all have to accept people with disabilities because without accepting them, they aren't able to be included.
S: What advice would you give to parents/siblings of children with special needs?
MN: I want parents/siblings that are in the same position as me to know that you can do this! Don't let the negative put you down. There will always be negative in the world, but It's our job as these amazing kid's families to show the world the positive. Show them our kids can do anything they set their minds to.
S: What would you want people to know most about Asher?
MN: Down Syndrome is a part of Asher, but it doesn't define him. We plan to continue to raise awareness and help advocate for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. I encourage you to learn more about T21 and please feel free to contact me with any questions--- And please, consider what you can do to make a more accepting and inclusive community for individuals of ALL abilities--- I wouldn't change Asher for the world but I am determined to help him change it for the better.
You can follow Asher's journey on his Facebook page, Asher's Down Right Perfect.