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This Mom Spoke Up After Her Son Was The Only Kid Not Invited To A Birthday Party

"As parents, we want our children to be liked, to have friends, and to not be left behind."

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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.

Facebook: jennifer.kissengele

"I am not mad at you," wrote Kiss-Engele, who lives in British Columbia. "Rather, I think this is an opportunity for you to get to know my son better. You see, having Down Syndrome doesn’t mean that you don’t want to have friends. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have feelings. It doesn’t mean you don’t like to go to birthday parties. People with Down Syndrome want the same things that you and I want."

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."

CTV News / Via

She told the parents that if their child didn't want to invite Sawyer to the party, they had an opportunity to show that "it’s not OK to leave someone out because of their disability, race, or gender."

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.


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."

Facebook / Via Facebook: jennifer.kissengele

Kiss-Engele also said the incident made her realize that she could have done more to educate Sawyer's classmates.

"He’s always just been Sawyer to me and I haven’t felt the need to talk about Down Syndrome to his class until this moment," she wrote. "I realize now that I have let him down."

Kiss-Engele ended by saying, "I may be a mama bear but I am not a scary person. I recognize that we all make mistakes and at the end of the day, I think we both could have done better."


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."