By Katy Gill
An adorable 8-year-old who is unable to speak due to a rare condition has instead found a rather unique way to interact with his favourite Disney idols, regularly travelling to the Magic Kingdom to learn a different DANCE with each and every one of them.
To date, AAsher Liles has been to the famous theme park six times, dancing with more than THIRTY different characters overall.
What makes AAsher’s performances even more special, though, is that he opts to wear the same outfits as his heroes – from Woody from Toy Story, to Donald Duck, Captain Hook, and even a male version of Snow White’s outfit.
His mother, Kerry Liles, explained that Asher has amassed 37 outfits to date, having first visited the park in September 2016.
AAsher was born with Down syndrome and non-verbal apraxia, and the two As in his name were a way, his parents said, of highlighting not only the extra A chromosome he was born with, but also the A+ grades he gets in his homeschooling.
The Alvin, Texas, USA, native usually communicates through gestures, but after being granted an annual pass to Walt Disney World, Florida, the Liles saw the occasions as a perfect way for their son to come away with an array of new sounds and moves.
The pass was a gift from Asher’s father, Brian Liles, who saw the visits as a break from homeschooling for Kerri and AAsher, as well as the weekly physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions they attend.
The youngster, who rocks a head full of hair past his shoulders, abides by a “12 days of gifts” tradition that leads up to his birthday every year.
This approach sees AAsher donate his luscious locks, visit nursing homes and shelters for abandoned children, distribute food to the homeless, and take gifts of thanks to veterans and police stations.
Kerri said: “Every time AAsher dances with the characters I can’t help but have a beaming smile from the happiness he gets – the world definitely needs more of that.
“This was our fifth trip to Disney Land since September 2016.
“We had planned to stay for 14 days for a large family holiday in celebration of my other son, who was meant to be returning home from deployment.
“Unfortunately he wasn’t able to, but that just gives us another reason to visit.
“Disney is AAsher’s dreamworld, it’s a place where there are no judgements of disabilities and he is treated like everybody else.
“My boy is fully included and accepted, he is free from the reality of challenges, hardships and therapies of his daily life.
“I can’t even explain the feeling that gives to a parent of a child with special needs, other than it being simply magical.
“He has become a mini-celebrity there now, with the staff recognising and knowing him by first name.
“We didn’t know AAsher had down syndrome until he was born.
“I decided to share our lives on Instagram to promote all the good stuff with disabilities and how that they aren’t holding him back.”