This mom's open letter about her son with Down Syndrome being excluded by his classmates has gone so viral
It hurts when you’re the only person not invited to an event, and one mom took to Facebook after her son was excluded from a classmate’s birthday party. Jennifer Kiss-Engele’s son, Sawyer, has Down Syndrome and was the only child not invited. Big thumbs-down. Kiss-Engele wrote a touching post about it on Facebook. (Warning: Break out the Kleenex.)
The post began by saying, “An open letter to the parent that thought it was OK to invite the entire class to their child’s birthday except for my son….sharing this because I think it’s a valuable lesson for all and I’m trying to educate & advocate more…”
She then went on to say, “I know we don’t know each other well but my son Sawyer and your child are in the same class. I understand that your child recently delivered birthday invitations to the entire class except to Sawyer, who was not invited. I also understand that this was not an oversight on your part, that it was an intentional decision to not to include my son.”
Kiss-Engele explained how Sawyer did not invite everyone to his birthday last year — just a few close friends since it was over Christmas break. “…But in your case, this is not the same reason…The only reason why you decided it was OK to not invite my son to your child’s birthday party is because he has Down Syndrome.”
(Are you in tears right now like I am? And how amazing is Sawyer’s mother?!)
She then explained that people with Down Syndrome still want the same connections and relationships as other people, and they feel slights like exclusions just as badly. In empathy, she also admits that she was initially scared and uniformed about her son’s condition, and that it would prevent him from having close relationships with his siblings.
Kiss-Engele then added that if her son’s classmate is uncomfortable with Sawyer, then she has a good opportunity to explain that it’s not okay to exclude someone based on a disability.
She later added an addendum to the post.
At the time of this writing, the post has 5.4K likes and almost 2,800 shares. The post also prompted a lot of fellow parents to speak out, many of whom mentioned instances where their children were excluded, too. Let’s hope Kiss-Engele’s post continues to help educate people, offer solidarity to other parents of kids with disabilities, and gest more kids invited to parties!