If you ever ask anyone who has raised a child with Down’s Syndrome they will most likely tell you how wonderful and happy it is.
For too long there have been misconceptions for regarding children who suffer from the condition. People seem to view raising them is an impossible task almost different to raising a child without it.
Sure, it comes with its own trials and tribulations, but what part of parenthood doesn’t? Most are aware it’s far from being difficult.
However, its great when you see children with Down’s Syndrome finally being included in a way they dreamed of. Ask the Baxter family from Rochester, Kent, England, whose adorable Down Syndrome son Riley Baxter just landed a modelling job!
With his gorgeous smile and charm the 4-year-old will be the face of a Mothercare advert, which will be showcased to the public.
Riley’s dad, Stuart, a sales manager, explains “We have called him ‘Smiley Riley’ from a young age, because he makes people really happy and seeing his smile gives people a pick-me-up on a bad day.”
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Riley won’t allow Down’s syndrome to stop him in life. Stuart and Kirsty his parents say his confidence has come as a relief as they weren’t certain it would be so.
Initially it was daunting knowing that they would be raising a child with Down’s syndrome. They were concerned he would be a target for bullies, or might be denied opportunities given to others.
However, they have enjoyed watching him overcome various obstacles life has thrown at him. Riley, who is mostly non-verbal, has proven to be a fighter and he’s making huge advances in learning sign language.
“Now he has such a repertoire of signs it’s unbelievable, it’s to the point where other children are learning it from him,” Stuart said.
Things haven’t always been easy for little Riley. He required a walker until he was 3-years-old, due to his weak muscles his dad explains, it took him twice the effort to get about.
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“With his walking, he has to work twice as hard as anyone else to do what they are doing.”
“When he walks a mile it’s like walking two for anyone else, but his determination to keep going is the one thing we constantly see.”
Riley’s ‘never say die’ attitude has resulted in some amazing things come his way. Once he suggested trying his hand at modelling, learning how to pose for photoshoots through Zebedee Management. He landed a modelling contract with Mothercare advert in the Jools Oliver Little Bird range.
“Now he’s modeling with Zebedee, he loves the camera, you say pose and he will make this little pout followed by sticking his tongue out,” Stuart said.
“After we were told he had Down Syndrome I cried, not for the case that I would love him any less but just knowing how cruel the world can be. That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong, and wow how wrong I was.
“Riley is getting so much out of life and whenever he accomplishes something it seems that little bit extra special knowing how much harder he had to work for it.”
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