Mom pens book series to inspire those living with Down syndrome

The five year old has had an infectious smile since the moment he was born. (Photo source: WLOX)
The five year old has had an infectious smile since the moment he was born. (Photo source: WLOX)

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Brandi Berkhimer says her son Ashton has had an infectious smile since the moment he was born.

"When he smiled his whole face was just like lit up; like a contagious smile. Like nothing we've ever seen before," said Brandi.

But, Ashton wasn't like the other kids in the nursery. He was born with Down Syndrome.

"You don't hear congratulations on your new baby. You know, you have people come to and say 'I'm sorry,' or 'It'll be okay,' or something like that," said Brandi. "But your baby is your baby and you just want to hear congratulations."

Brandi struggled to find books geared for her son and other parents like her. After giving birth, she knew she wanted to reach out and inspire others with down syndrome and their loved ones.

Now 5 years old, Ashton is the inspiration for a new series of books, 'My Little Sunshine Face'.

"I wanted a book that would celebrate who he was, and that included having that extra 21st chromosome and having down syndrome," said Brandi.

The series includes a poem and tips on cognitive, physical, and psychological development for parents to do with their kids.

"They're going to learn a lot from their child and that they are wonderfully made. That's why I named it 'Wonderfully Made Wonderfully ME!' because we're all unique we all have a purpose and a plan," added Brandi.

Through the books, Brandi hopes to tear people away from misconceptions.

"People with Down syndrome are able to live independent lives and contribute to society, whereas before, they couldn't," said Brandi. "I think people just don't realize that yet. But that's why awareness is so important and that's part of what I want to do with the books."

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