A toddler with Down Syndrome beamed with joy as he showed his father how he had learned to walk and was taking some of his first steps.
Mom Ashley Myers, 30, from Soldotna, Alaska, said that her 18-month-old son Auggie took his “happiest” first steps.
Auggie was born with Down Syndrome – a condition that comes with low muscle tone and has required Auggie to work a lot on developing his muscles.
Ashley said that reaching milestones like crawling and standing have been a lot tougher for Auggie than typical kids, so she turned to a friend of the family who works in pediatric physical therapy.
Having visited Fortis Therapy Center in Dripping Springs, Texas, when the family was originally based in the state, Ashley’s long-term goal for Auggie was for him to one day attend the center’s Project Walk program.
Project Walk is an intensive physical therapy program that consists of three weeks, five days a week, for three hours a day.
Within two weeks, Auggie could move from a crawl to standing and an introductory walk, and having taken a few of his first steps, Ashley wanted to show his father, Andrew, 29, who was still based in Alaska.
A representative from the center, Meredith Kapchinski, recorded the moment Auggie walked towards his dad, who was on FaceTime, his every step being met with giggles and a widening smile.
Meredith later posted the video, which was shot on October 17, on the center’s social media channels, where Auggie’s achievements – and glowing smile – received an outpouring of love.
Ashley said: “It brought me deep joy to experience that moment.
“The intensive program was hard on me emotionally, and I was basically being a single parent for three weeks.
“My heart hurt knowing my husband was missing out on these big moments, and since I work from home with Auggie, he and I have a very close bond.
“So, seeing Auggie show his love for his daddy – who he hadn’t seen in-person for three weeks – and knowing my husband was getting to experience that joy and witness a huge milestone was very special.
“As a mother and as a wife, seeing your kid and husband have a moment of love and joy is all you ever want.
“It was a highlight of our time at the intensive.”