Mom Writes Powerful Post After Son With Down Syndrome Is Excluded From Party
When her son with Down syndrome was hurt by exclusion, one mom decided it was an opportunity to teach people about inclusion.
That mom is Jennifer Kiss-Engele, a Canadian parent whose 8-year-old child, Sawyer, had been the only one in his class to not get invited to another classmate's birthday party.
What upset her the most, however, is not that Sawyer was singled out, but that he was seemingly singled out because he had Down syndrome.
Evidently, Jennifer could not let that go, and the letter she wrote to the birthday girl's mom is proof of that. In the letter, Kiss-Engele wrote that she "understands" Sawyer's exclusion was intentional and that the only reason for that was his condition.
Kiss-Engele went on to say,
I am not mad at you. 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. They want to have close relationships, they want to feel love, they want to contribute, they want to have meaningful lives, and they want to go to birthday parties.
The letter proceeds to make an effort to break down different stigmas about children with Down syndrome and assert the importance of those children being included socially.
The post did, however, attract dissenting opinions on Facebook. One commenter said that Kiss-Engele should "get over it" and not push her son to others. Other disagreed with the method that Kiss-Engele used, stating that she "guilted" another family.
Whether or not Kiss-Engele crossed the line in trying to make her point, the outcome, for her, seems to have been perfect.
She gave an update at the end of her post that said,
I want you to know 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.
You can read the full open letter in the post below.