Mom Writes Open Letter to Parent Who Didn’t Invite Her Down Syndrome Son to Birthday Party
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
When you’re a parent, it can be tough to watch your child not get invited to birthday parties. It’s even more difficult when you know the reason is about something neither of you control. Jennifer Kiss-Engele knows this heartache all too well. Her son Sawyer has Down syndrome and he was the only one in his class of 23 students not invited to a classmate’s birthday party.
On June 23, Engele wrote an open letter to the parent of the child who didn’t invite her son to their party.
“Hi there,” she begins. “I know we don’t know each other well but my son Sawyer and your child are in the same class. I understand that your child recently delivered birthday invitations to the entire class except to Sawyer, who was not invited. I also understand that this was not an oversight on your part, that it was an intentional decision to not to include my son.”
She goes on to say that she knows it’s not because Sawyer’s mean or doesn’t get along with the other child that he wasn’t invited, but because he has Down syndrome. She also states that she sees this as an opportunity to educate the parent and the rest of the world about what having Down syndrome means.
“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. It may be more difficult at times to understand my child. But the laughter and love that you share doesn’t need interpretation.”
The post went viral and has since been shared over 6,000 times and liked over 20,000 times (as of press time).
The post also reached the parent of the child having the party. In an update on the post, Engele writes that the parent talked to their child about inviting Sawyer and has since created a “special birthday invite” for him.
Engele concludes by saying she hopes her experience encourages other parents to talk to their children about those with special needs.
“I think as parents we all need to do a better job of fostering these relationships, myself included. I hope that parents who read this will help open that dialogue with their own child and perhaps make that one ‘extra’ invitation.”