starting with a smile and a wave

many years ago, probably 15 years or more, i was over at a family friend’s house who had family visiting.  in that visiting family was a little girl with special needs.  she was about nine years old if i had to guess and was non verbal.  i remember very clearly that i felt very uncomfortable around her.   i remember my sister interacting with her, yet i stayed off to the side, never acknowledging the little girl.  why?  i have no idea, maybe i was ignorant, immature, and/or unsure how to interact with her, who knows.  fast forward to today, now i am a parent who has a child who has special needs herself.  one of my biggest fears for greyson is that he will be made to feel he is different, that he isn’t worth attention from others, that he will be excluded from classmates’ birthday parties and play dates.  i keep reading these stories about children with special needs, mostly autistic, who are excluded from play dates, birthday parties, and social events in general.  oh, i am sure there are exceptions to this or maybe these stories are the exceptions (here’s hoping anyway), but it got me to thinking.  i have this strong desire to do something, that i want to make sure every child with special needs is included in some way.  while i know i can’t do this for every child, i can do this for every child that i encounter.  i never want a child to come home from school and tell their parents that they didn’t get an invitation to greyson or gavin’s birthday parties, play dates, or sleep overs.  i don’t want a child to ever doubt their worth, i don’t want them to ever feel alone, excluded, different.  i feel like this is my purpose….i just don’t know how i am going to achieve this yet, but step one, next time i encounter a child with special needs, i WILL acknowledge them, even if it’s just starting with a smile and a wave.

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