Inspiring Story of 'Smiley Riley,' 5-Year-Old Boy with Down Syndrome Who Is a Child Model
In spite of his struggles with Down Syndrome and the fact that he's just five, Riley Baxter, also known as "Smiley Riley," has already landed modeling jobs.
Riley's winning smile consistently melts hearts all over the world. In his recent Instagram post, the little boy is seen having some fun at a friend's party.
"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."
Riley has been the face of various advertising campaigns. His UK-based talent agency, Zebedee Management, highlights the beauty of individuals with disabilities, according to Simple Most.
Riley's parents, Kristy and Stuart, disclosed to Caters News Agency that when Kristy was pregnant with Riley, they didn't realize he had Down syndrome.
Routine blood tests and scans didn't pick anything up. But nurses saw indications of the condition shortly after his birth.
"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," said Kristy.
"That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong, and wow how wrong I was."
Things absolutely haven't been simple for Riley. He used a walker until he was three years of age due to weak muscles.
In spite of the difficulties he has faced, his accomplishment in modeling and his overall positive attitude are inspiring other children who might experience something comparable.
Stuart said, "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."
Currently, Riley is able to talk two-word sentences and can also count from one to 10 on his own.
According to the Down Syndrome Association, about 1 in 1,000 babies in the U.K. are born with the condition.
In the US, 1 in 700 babies born has Down syndrome, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.