Asher Nash is a blue-eyed baby who loves posing in front of the camera, so his mom Meagan thought he’d be the perfect child model.
But when she sent a selection of his photos, taken by Crystal Barbee Photography, to an Atlanta agency working for OshKosh B’gosh, she never heard back and believes it’s because her 15-month-old son has Down syndrome.
After weeks of no response, she reached out to the agency.
“Something in my gut told me to reach out to them because I couldn’t believe that he hasn’t gotten at least one call from them,” Nash, from Buford, Georgia, told InsideEdition.com.
When she did get a reply, she couldn’t believe what she was reading.
“They responded back by saying ‘the company didn’t specify special needs,'” she said. “I sat back all confused and thought, ‘did they just say they didn’t ask for kids with special needs?'”
She was shocked. “I immediately wrote a well-thought-out message explaining to them my son had every right to be considered.”
She said the company apologized, but remained uninterested in Asher as a model. After the interaction, Nash wondered how many other agencies thought kids with disabilities shouldn’t be considered.
She decided to share her story with “Changing the Face of Beauty,” a non-profit organization that campaigns for brands to partner with kids with disabilities.
Eight-year-old Addison, Asher’s older sister, also took a stand.
For Down Syndrome Awareness month, which is October, she shared her little brother’s story with her classmates in Georgia. Students wore blue and yellow, the colors dedicated to the cause.
The family shared the story on its Facebook page, Asher’s Down Right Perfect. Another, popular Facebook page, Kids With Down Syndrome, also picked up the story. It was shared tens of thousands of times and began catching the attention of blogs and news organizations.
That’s when OshKosh B’gosh noticed and reached out to the mom.
“OshKosh B’gosh appreciates the importance of representing the diversity of our customers in our advertising,” a spokesman for the company said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Calls made to the company by InsideEdition.com were not returned Friday.
“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 statement continued.
“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.”
Nash said she doesn’t blame the clothing company.
“I had no intention whatsoever to put them under in a negative light,” she told InsideEdition.com. “I simply wanted to pass on the message that no kid with a disability should be rejected. I just hope they eventually use kids with disabilities.”
She has agreed to meet with them next week and hopes to continue spreading the message that all kids need to be included.
“It’s going to show the world that these kids matter,” she said.