By Tony Callaio
For Sunday Dispatch
Amanda Booth is a model, actress, wife and, for the last 11 months, a mom. She’s had great success, with a whirlwind life of glamous locations, designer clothes and major ad campaigns. But after the birth of her son Micah, life for the 2003 Wyoming Area grad has changed.
Booth and her husband Mike Quinones were notified three months after Micah’s birth that the infant had Down syndrome, a genetic chromosome disorder causing developmental and intellectual delays.
“When Micah was first diagnosed, people would tell us, ‘There’s a reason for everything,’” said Booth, formerly of West Pittston. That reason, she said, is that her position in life allows her and her husband to help other families who have children with Down syndrome.
“I believe we were chosen by Micah because we would be able to have a voice,” Booth said. “The scary part of all of this is the unknown of anything and watching other people’s stories of Downs really helped me. I would hope to be, that if it was just one person (I could help), then it’s worth it.”
Booth was upbeat when speaking from her Huntington Beach, California home. Her husband was away at a convention to promote his surfing clothing line and she had just put Micah down to sleep for the evening.
“I never know if he’s going to fall asleep right away,” she said. “We are just trying to get him into a schedule and so far he sleeps all night.” Micah has an audio/video monitor watching over him at all times.
Booth, who will celebrate her 29th birthday on July 14, is a firm believer of social media and uses her Tumblr account to keep everyone up to date on Micah’s progress and to talk about Down syndrome. She frequently uses Instagram and Facebook to spread the word.
“Everyone is into social media and it’s so big, my modeling agency has a director of social media,” she said.
Micah is following in his mother’s footsteps. “He was recently signed by my modeling agency. He hasn’t gotten any jobs as of yet, but we get casting calls,” Booth said.
Booth and Micah have recently been in the news as word spreads about the toddler’s social media popularity and Booth’s advocacy. Stories about mother and son have appeared on “Good Morning America,” ABCnews.com, BuzzFeed.com, DailyMail.com, the Huffington Post and more.
Booth feels it’s important to get children of special needs into mainstream society. An agency called Changing the Face of Beauty (changingthefaceofbeauty.org) has a goal to “show the world how beautiful all people are.”
In recent months, Booth’s mom, MaryAnn Stansky, visited from New York City to help with day-to-day duties. Booth said having her mom around has been a huge help. “She just flew back east and I can tell how much we miss having her here and helping.”
Micah is constantly evaluated by the state of California and Orange County agencies, receiving both physical therapy and occupational therapy. “I believe the more you work with these babies at an early age, the better they will be in the long run,” Booth said.
“He was just evaluated last week for his cognitive, social, emotional and gross motor skills and right now he needs some help with his gross motor skills because he’s not walking yet,” added Amanda. When Micah turns 18 months, he will have a speech evaluation.
Modeling is where Booth started, but her goal is to migrate into acting. “I’ve been going on a lot of auditions and it’s working out well,” she said. “I’m lucky that I’ve reached a level in my career that I can pick and choose what jobs I can take.”
Booth recently appeared in an episode of “Maron” on IFC (Independent Film Channel). She has also appeared on the TV Land show “Hot in Cleveland,” the NBC comedy “Community,” and CBS soap “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
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