This was written by Jillian Benfield, a writer and blogger who is advocating for her son, Anderson, who has Down syndrome. She is asking parents to have a conversion with their kids.
“As the school year begins, I’m asking you to have a conversation with your child about being the one.
Have a conversation about what it looks like to notice people, all people, like my disabled son, Anderson. Teach them to be the one who stays, who lingers, who meets people where they are.
Sometimes, it just takes one child. One child to see, to include, for my child to know he belongs. Sometimes, it just takes one person to see Anderson to know his place is not on the outskirts of community, but in the heart of it. He can come to the table just as he is.
As the school year starts, I’m praying there will be one. One child who notices Anderson’s similarities and his differences. Who embraces the whole of him. And here’s the thing: It won’t just be my child who benefits, but yours will benefit too. For my child has much to give.
As the school year starts, have the conversation with your child about children like mine. Because the benefits go beyond my child and yours. This one act, this one potential friendship, has the potential to change the classroom culture, the recess culture, the school culture. It has the potential to shape the community.
Have the conversation, not just for my child and others like him, but for your child, for all children. Have the conversation so we can all live in a kinder, more inclusive, and overall better world.”