The following post was written by Amy Wright, mother of four children, two of whom have Down Syndrome. Amy writes a blog called It Starts With a Voice, where she shares stories about her children, along with airing original songs to advocate for inclusion. One story in particular really stuck out to us.
A few weeks ago, I received the most wonderful voicemail message. It wasn’t what was said in the message that brought my tears of joy, but rather the voice on the other end of the line. The caller was one of Beau’s school buddies, John Daniel.
By the time most children are 8 years old, they’ve gone on numerous play dates, been invited to countless birthday parties, and even experienced a few sleep-overs. Over the years, I remember taking my older girls to one party after another, all the while longing for a quiet Saturday afternoon. And yet, with Beau, most Saturday afternoons are quiet.
With Beau, the world moves a little slower, which can make play dates, birthday parties, and sleepovers a little more challenging. And while Beau has been blessed with many good friends who have included him in various ways, he has never really had a friend who moves at his pace…until now.
John Daniel is a special little boy with loads of personality, compassion, and curiosity. A few years older than Beau, he looks out for him like a big brother, encouraging him to try new things and reminding him to follow the rules. And as a result of John Daniel’s courage to pick up the phone a few weeks ago, Beau and his buddy finally had their play date.
Today, on a playground, surrounded by children running much faster and climbing much higher, I witnessed a friendship being born. A friendship based upon the mutual admiration two little boys have for each other and their ability to tune out the world to solely focus on one another. In this fast-paced world where we text our friends more than we share face-to-face conversations, I was reminded of what friendship is all about…
“‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
In this story, Amy writes about a day when both John Daniel and Beau demonstrated inclusion. John Daniel got just as much out of this friendship as Beau did. The beauty of inclusion is that all participants see the value of diversity, learning from people with unique talents and needs. Thank you, Amy, for sharing this beautiful story with us! Keep advocating for inclusion!
–Written by Amy Wright, author of It Starts With a Voice. Commentary by Elise Hopkins, KIT Blog Editor.
Kids Included Together (KIT) is a non-profit located in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. We help make the world a more inclusive place by providing live and online training to people who work with kids. We teach strategies, accommodations and best practices to include kids with and without disabilities in before & after school programs. Inclusive environments create stronger communities. Learn more about our work at www.KITonline.org.