Jennifer Kiss-Engele recently learned that her son Sawyer, who has Down syndrome, was the only kid in his class of 24 not to be invited to a birthday party. So she wrote a moving letter on Facebook to the parents who excluded her son.
Kiss-Engele said that before she had Sawyer she was "scared, uncertain and misinformed about Down Syndrome." She worried her other children wouldn't be able to connect with him. "But I was wrong. In fact, my children are closer than most other siblings are."
Since publishing her letter, Kiss-Engele has heard from many parents of children with special needs who say their kids have been excluded from events. "I'm asking if you can all look around and include a child that you think has been left out," she said.
Many people also posted special messages for Saywer. "You are totally adorable and your glasses look awesome. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to hang out with you."
This parent of a special needs child in B.C. invited Sawyer to her son's birthday party this fall.
"As parents, we want our children to be liked, to have friends, and to not be left behind," Kiss-Engele wrote. "And how we do this is by setting examples ourselves and encouraging them to make choices that they might not be old enough to fully comprehend."
Kiss-Engele followed up with another Facebook post to share that "there is a happy ending to this story."
"The parent read my letter, spoke to their child about Sawyer, and the child created a special birthday invite for Sawyer," she wrote. "Of course he's been beaming ever since and can't stop talking about it."