Ashley's mom and dad called her their "Pillow Angel" - the girl has a rare medical condition called "static encephalopathy of unknown etiology." Ashley's condition means that even though her body grows normally, her brain is "stuck" developmentally as a 3-month-old baby.
Ashley's parents had now revealed that doctors have given Ashley a hormone treatment to limit her growth (as well as to remove her uterus and block the development of her breast), thus stopping her from growing into a woman. In effect, Ashley will forever remain in a child's body.
Ashley's parents say that because she will remain the weight of a child, it will be easier for them to move her around, bathe her and involve her in family activities - movement that will benefit her physical and mental well-being.
Dr Douglas Diekema from the University of Washington in Seattle, who was on the ethics committee that gave the go-ahead for Ashley's treatment, told the BBC that the panel agreed "because the parents convinced us it was in fact in this little girl's best interests".
"If she were smaller it would be much easier for them to continue to provide a much more personal level of care," he said.
But Agnes Fletcher of the UK's Disability Rights Commission said is was "unnecessary medical treatment to deal with what is essentially a social problem", referring to "the poverty and lack of support" faced by families with disabled children.