Parents say Kansas City fashion show featuring models with autism helped change their kids’ lives

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A fashion show was held in River Market Thursday night, but this one was unlike any other; the show featured five models with autism. Parents who say their kids have faced severe bullying say this event changed their kids' lives.

The event was put together by an organization called Fashion Honors Autism. For everyone at the event, this was much more than a fashion show.

"He is the thrill of my heart," said Mandi Brown.

Brown's son Paxton was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.

"I didn't think he'd ever be verbal, I didn't think he'd ever call me mom. I didn't know if he would say I love you," Brown said.

The now-5-year-old Paxton is learning how to communicate and is building confidence in himself.

Paxton is one of five kids with autism selected to walk in a Kansas City fashion show. They went through three weeks of training with professional models and mentors.

"This is helping him very much develop mentally. It's helping his socialize with other kids and adults, it's getting him into a new environment. It's so much then just, this is a fun event for him," Brown said.

Many of these kids face severe bullying and sometimes don't feel normal.

"We tried to get him into soccer and it took me physically going onto the field to show him what's supposed to be done. Kids made fun of him it didn't make him feel good," mom Abby Houghton said.

But Thursday night, her son Casey told her he wanted to be a model. It gave these kids a chance to see they can do anything they put their minds to.

"To see how far he's come... it means the world to me," Houghton said.

All proceeds will be going to Fashion Honors Autism. A non-profit called Fit To Fly was behind this event. For more information, click on this link.