Meagan Nash

@meagan_nash | contributor
Meagan resides in Buford, GA with her husband of 11 years and their two children . Meagan’s daughter Addison is 10 and loves all things fashion and cheer. Her son Asher is 3. He is the biggest joy and happens to have Down Syndrome . You might recognize Asher as the “Oshkosh” baby. He became somewhat of a celebrity when Meagan’s Facebook post went viral. Asher was the first person with a disability to appear in an Oshkosh advertisement in 2016. Meagan is on the board and co-chair of the Buddy walk for the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. She has made it her mission to be her children’s biggest advocate and to spread awareness for the Down Syndrome community. Most days she juggles her hectic lifestyle quite well, on the other days there’s always wine.  
Meagan Nash

YouTube Channel For New Families of Kids With Down Syndrome

Imagine you have just received the news that your son or daughter will be born with Down syndrome. Or maybe you received a birth diagnosis. Sadly, in that moment, a lot of parents find themselves in a panic and feel like they have nowhere to turn. Now imagine that your baby is getting older and trying to meet their milestones. From learning to crawl or walk, self-feed and even talking. Where do you turn for help and advice when you’re told your child will need therapy or to be fitted for a pair of orthotics? While we know there will always be resources available, sometimes as parents, you just want to be able to connect on a more relatable level. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to go online and find informative and encouraging videos straight from families raising children with Down syndrome just like you? Well, four very inspired parents thought the exact same thing and created the YouTube channel: The Ups And Downs. Meet Alyse and Felicity: Alyse Biro has a 3-year-old daughter, Felicity (or Flick), with Down syndrome. She runs a popular Instagram page, Flicks on fleek. She is also on the board of her local Down Syndrome Association as a Director of community relations and support. She is the new parent contact liaison and runs the 0-5 group there. She is passionate in working in the Down syndrome community. She hopes the YouTube channel will help all parents as well as parents who have received a recent diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child. Alyse searched for a channel like this when her daughter was born, as she was grieving and wanted to see what her daily life would look like. She is also wanting to tackle topics that come up for all ages of people with Down syndrome and their families. Meet Meagan and Asher: Meagan Nash resides in Buford, Georgia with her husband and two children. Her youngest, Asher is 3 years old and was born with Down syndrome. Meagan is on the board of her local Down Syndrome Association and co-chair of the Buddy Walk. You might recognize her son Asher as the “Oshkosh” baby. He became the first person with a disability to appear in an Oshkosh advertisement in 2016. You can follow his journey on Instagram Instagram. Meagan has made it her mission to be both of her children’s biggest advocate and to spread awareness for the Down syndrome community. She hopes “The Ups And Downs” channel will help show the world what it’s really like raising a child with Down syndrome while helping a lot of families in the process! Meet Hannah and Adaline: Hannah Seadschlag has two daughters. Her oldest, Adaline, is 2 ½ years old and has Down syndrome. She received her diagnosis when she was 23 weeks pregnant. With her diagnosis came so much fear and unknowns, but once Adaline was born, Hannah and her husband entered into this beautiful community and were given so many resources, all because they have a daughter with Down syndrome. Her hope for this channel is to spread joy, love and education to those who are in the same place she was not so long ago. She wants to help them move through the fear and run straight into advocating and not let their diagnosis rob them of their joy of their precious little one. Meet Beau and Spencer: Beau Brooks is the proud father of two girls and a son. His son,  Spencer, is 3 years old and was born with Down syndrome. When Spencer was born, the initial shock of the diagnosis devastated Beau. He quickly turned that devastation into motivation and founded Louisiana nonprofit Upside Downs, an organization committed to helping the Down syndrome community through new parent support, recreational activities, raising awareness and advocating for a brighter future. We hope this channel is a way for our families to be there for yours. Through the struggles and joys, and “ The Ups And The Downs.“

Meagan Nash

YouTube Channel For New Families of Kids With Down Syndrome

Imagine you have just received the news that your son or daughter will be born with Down syndrome. Or maybe you received a birth diagnosis. Sadly, in that moment, a lot of parents find themselves in a panic and feel like they have nowhere to turn. Now imagine that your baby is getting older and trying to meet their milestones. From learning to crawl or walk, self-feed and even talking. Where do you turn for help and advice when you’re told your child will need therapy or to be fitted for a pair of orthotics? While we know there will always be resources available, sometimes as parents, you just want to be able to connect on a more relatable level. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to go online and find informative and encouraging videos straight from families raising children with Down syndrome just like you? Well, four very inspired parents thought the exact same thing and created the YouTube channel: The Ups And Downs. Meet Alyse and Felicity: Alyse Biro has a 3-year-old daughter, Felicity (or Flick), with Down syndrome. She runs a popular Instagram page, Flicks on fleek. She is also on the board of her local Down Syndrome Association as a Director of community relations and support. She is the new parent contact liaison and runs the 0-5 group there. She is passionate in working in the Down syndrome community. She hopes the YouTube channel will help all parents as well as parents who have received a recent diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child. Alyse searched for a channel like this when her daughter was born, as she was grieving and wanted to see what her daily life would look like. She is also wanting to tackle topics that come up for all ages of people with Down syndrome and their families. Meet Meagan and Asher: Meagan Nash resides in Buford, Georgia with her husband and two children. Her youngest, Asher is 3 years old and was born with Down syndrome. Meagan is on the board of her local Down Syndrome Association and co-chair of the Buddy Walk. You might recognize her son Asher as the “Oshkosh” baby. He became the first person with a disability to appear in an Oshkosh advertisement in 2016. You can follow his journey on Instagram Instagram. Meagan has made it her mission to be both of her children’s biggest advocate and to spread awareness for the Down syndrome community. She hopes “The Ups And Downs” channel will help show the world what it’s really like raising a child with Down syndrome while helping a lot of families in the process! Meet Hannah and Adaline: Hannah Seadschlag has two daughters. Her oldest, Adaline, is 2 ½ years old and has Down syndrome. She received her diagnosis when she was 23 weeks pregnant. With her diagnosis came so much fear and unknowns, but once Adaline was born, Hannah and her husband entered into this beautiful community and were given so many resources, all because they have a daughter with Down syndrome. Her hope for this channel is to spread joy, love and education to those who are in the same place she was not so long ago. She wants to help them move through the fear and run straight into advocating and not let their diagnosis rob them of their joy of their precious little one. Meet Beau and Spencer: Beau Brooks is the proud father of two girls and a son. His son,  Spencer, is 3 years old and was born with Down syndrome. When Spencer was born, the initial shock of the diagnosis devastated Beau. He quickly turned that devastation into motivation and founded Louisiana nonprofit Upside Downs, an organization committed to helping the Down syndrome community through new parent support, recreational activities, raising awareness and advocating for a brighter future. We hope this channel is a way for our families to be there for yours. Through the struggles and joys, and “ The Ups And The Downs.“

Meagan Nash

Oshkosh Model With Down Syndrome Turns 3

Dear Asher, Today you are 3. It may not seem like a big birthday to you, but to me it is. I feel like I just gave birth to you yesterday. And now? You’re becoming a whole human by yourself. I can still remember the day you were born. You literally came into the world with a smile on your face. Your personality shines through more and more every day. And oh how I love that personality. I hope one day you can see yourself through my eyes, even a little bit. I am in awe of the tiny human you are becoming. Of the amazing imagination you have when you play with your vroom vrooms. Of the immense capacity for joy you contain. You light up any room you enter. And I am already so proud of you. The world is a better place because you are in it. Not only do you make my every day brighter, you brighten that of those around you. I’m sad you’re growing up so fast, but I am also loving watching you grow up. I know you will do great things. And by great, I mean you will touch the lives of thousands. I don’t care if you find the cure for cancer (though that would be pretty amazing and help lots of people). I don’t care if you run for president of the United States. All I know and expect from you is that you will make the world a better place, even if it’s just with the power of your smile and kindness that I never want you to let go of. If you touch one person with your passion for life… well then my work here is done. I love you Asher. Happy birthday my darling boy! Love ,Mom #Ashersdownrightperfect

Meagan Nash

How to Be a Good Friend to a Special Needs Mom

What is the definition of a special needs mom? We are the silent armies for our children. We are the unsung heroes who may never get public recognition, but continue to fight the good fight for our kids day and night. A special needs mom is the equivalent of Batman, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk combined with a side of Mary Poppins. For our kids, we aren’t just supermoms. We are their cheerleaders, their advocates, their nurses and their therapists. My newest addition, Asher, made me a special needs mom. We all know the endless job titles and duties that go along with being a mom in general, but I wanted to share 10 things I wish you knew about my life as a special needs mom. 1. I tend to have a smile on my face when surrounded by friends and family, but on the inside, I’m constantly battling being exhausted, uncomfortable and at times, lonely. We all love our children immensely, but it wont take the pain away because we know we can’t always take away the hurt they may feel. 2. My son shows an enormous amount of love, and he needs the same shown to him. He brings joy and laughter to those who know him, but he is definitely capable of expressing other feelings. He cries and screams just as much as he laughs and smiles. 3. Knowing other children with special needs doesn’t make you an expert on my child’s diagnosis. So please don’t tell me my son is “high-functioning” or only has a “mild” case of Down syndrome. And please refrain from telling me my son looks “normal,” because who really gets to decide what’s normal in the world today? Children with special needs are all born different and develop at different paces, just like “typical” children do. 4. Even though we have moments of loneliness, we moms are able to be a part of a supportive community, whether it be on social media or right next door. It takes a village to raise any children. When you do find that mom who just “gets it,” well, it’s pretty transforming! 5. My son is smart, creative and talented. It might take him a little longer to learn things, but with help from his therapist and doctors, he will get there. Don’t ever assume my son can’t do what your children do. I don’t, and I will always motivate him to do whatever he wants in life. 6. We moms are more alike than different. I start my morning the same as you likely do. I have my coffee, shower, and fight to get everyone ready for the day. I worry about the laundry and dishes piling up, and stress over the house looking like someone ransacked it. I bicker with my spouse and all the other experiences that go along with being married. There are plenty of things we can find common ground on, and I want you to know that at the end of the day, we are all still moms. 7. My child might make noises, bang his head on me, flail his arms and legs, or even randomly start crying while strolling through the grocery store. I don’t mind if you look, but please don’t stare with your mouth wide open. He can’t help when he feels anxious or frightened, and his environment strongly affects his behavior. 8. I know my son touches other people’s lives every day. His influence on others is much greater than mine could ever be. 9. I want you to talk to your children about my child. I understand they have questions about people with disabilities, but you aren’t doing anyone a favor by not answering them. Teach them not to stare, point, whisper, ignore, or bully. Teach them to use respectful words amongst their peers. Teach them that using the R-word is not OK and is offensive to our children. Talk to them about how alike people are with disabilities to them, and encourage your child to interact with my son and even befriend him. 10. I want you to know how hard I am on myself even before all the questions asking if we could do more to help him hit his milestones come my way. I know I’m not perfect, but I’m the perfect parent for my children, and that’s good enough for me at the end of the day. A version of this post originally appeared on My Atlanta Moms Club.

Meagan Nash

Stop Using the Word 'Retarded'

I will never forget the day I heard that awful word blurted out in front of me. I was out with my husband when we overheard two women talking in a store. One asked the other if she saw that girl who looks “retarded,” as she made an obscene gesture and brought her hands to her chest. I was so angry with her. I admit, I often found myself using “retarded,” or the “R-word“, before my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome over a year ago. I used it to describe a lot of situations and I didn’t think twice about it. Knowing what I do today, I am here to tell you just how offensive that word is to my son, and everyone else with an intellectual disability. The word “retarded” is hateful, offensive, and spreads hurt. Those women knew nothing about the person they were talking about. They judged her by the way she looked, how she sounded and acted, and what they learned from TV. Too many people are taught to use the word as a form of insult, a dig at someone’s intelligence and “normalcy.” The situation made me realize that someone might try to use that word to describe my son one day. I found myself sitting there wondering, “How can we ever expect our children not to use the word, if they are hearing us use it ourselves?” I realize now that I should have stood up and said something when I heard them degrading that innocent woman. I was so upset, I couldn’t get out a single word or string together my thoughts. Part of me also thought I would end up in handcuffs if I got started, and we all know that would definitely not set a good example for our children. Some might not know this, but the “R-word” was used to describe people with intellectual disabilities by medical professionals. However, in 2013 even the medical world revised the terminology. Sadly, it will always be associated with people who have intellectual disabilities due to its history. That being said, please remember that any use of the word, even when used as slang and not intended to be offensive, is hurtful. There are so many ways we can educate people when we hear them using the “R-word.” Here are three ways I taught my daughter and want to share with you: 1. Try asking them to think of other words they can use instead. 2. Ask them if they know the definition of the word. Most of the time people don’t, because if they did, I can assure you they wouldn’t be blurting it out left and right. 3. Explain why the word is so hurtful towards people with intellectual disabilities, and really put into perspective why it’s unacceptable to use. Spread The Word To End The Word  is a national campaign to encourage people to pledge to stop using the “R-word.” They even have a national day each year dedicated to spreading awareness. These advocates believe the use of the word “retard(ed)” in everyday speech is hurtful and dehumanizing. They advocate for the use of language that respects the dignity of people with disabilities.So the next time you are thinking about using the “R-word” to describe your friend’s outfit or the funny face they made, I want you to remember… it’s offending my son, and every other person with an intellectual disability in the process.

Meagan Nash

Meagan Nash Writes How Her Son With Down Syndrome's Story Went Viral

Recently a friend of mine wrote a letter  to her doctor, who had pressured her into considering having an abortion when she found out her now 15-month-old daughter would be born with Down syndrome. In the beginning of her letter to her doctor, she shared my diagnosis story from when I found out my son would be born with Down Syndrome. She wrote : Dear Doctor, A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms, he would comment, “He’s perfect.” Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said, “I told you. He’s perfect.” I’m here to tell the world just how perfect my son and everyone else with a disability is. If you search for the definition of “perfect” the internet , you find the following: After reading those definitions, I want you to ask yourself: “Am I perfect?” I have a feeling your answer is no. Because no one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve respect. I told myself I wasn’t going to read the hateful and ignorant comments on social media when my friend’s letter went viral. I told myself there will always be Facebook trolls and people who get a rise in making others hurt. I guess I had hoped this time it would be different, but man was I wrong! That comment read: A child with Down’s syndrome is not physically “perfect”…and I don’t think a dr should be made to feel that he or she should relate this news in that light…Especially since it is the Drs job to provide facts and options. I wouldn’t want my dr to be “politically correct” when discussing my baby’s condition. Ultimately, the best can be made in any situation and nobody is perfect but that’s for the parent or individual to conclude after receiving the facts…not before. Now of course, I won’t show the lack of disrespect this person showed by naming names, but I will say this… There are too many people in this world with misconceptions about Down syndrome and what it means for our children living with it. I honestly put a lot of the blame on the medical community. They still focus so much on explaining all the negative things your baby will be born with or go through, and it makes these moms believe their babies will grow up to amount to nothing. Then we have people in the world so intolerant to other people’s differences, they don’t let themselves see how people with Down syndrome or any type of disability are just that, people . Crystal Barbee Photography Recently a friend told me her thoughts on the subject ,and she could not be more right. She said: Our hope is that the world will eventually see that our children are beautiful, loving humans who want what every single person wants…love and acceptance. The only real difference is that our children will love and accept those who believe their lives don’t matter and ask for no love in return. They don’t take away from or drain their family, nor do they make us regret them. Instead they teach us what is truly important in life and we become better people because of them. For those of you who don’t know, 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. What does that mean for my son Asher? It means he has Down syndrome, but he doesn’t have every single characteristic of Down syndrome. He has his own physical features, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and traits that also make him unique. Crystal Barbee Photography My son will have his struggles, but don’t we all? Don’t we all struggle with some sort of imperfection? Isn’t that what makes us all different and unique in our own ways? He is still an individual, just like everyone else. Down syndrome is only a piece of who he is, and it will not define him. We will not write his future for him and neither will this society. Together we can spread awareness so more people realize the truth about our children, relatives and friends living with Down syndrome. So if I leave you with anything, I want you to remember this. Please do not ever think that someone is not “physically perfect” because of their chromosomal makeup. Who are we to say what’s perfect in this messed up world we live in? In my opinion, there is only one man who is perfect and only he has the ability to judge our imperfections in these temporary bodies he created for us. He does not mess up, make mistakes or give us more than we can handle. Asher might not be perfect in the eyes of society, but he’s Down Right Perfect in mine. I invite you all to follow his life journey and mine as his advocate. To learn more about him and his abundant life,  click here. This post first appeared on My Atlanta Moms Club. The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s). Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines. Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today! Available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes .