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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Inclusion & Friendships

When Kayla got home from school today and emptied her backpack there was a nice, pink, zippered pencil-case holder with pencils in it. It wasn't one I recognized; I knew it wasn't one that I sent her to school with at the beginning of the school year. I wondered if she lost hers or something, and her teacher replaced it with this one. I thought maybe Kayla accidentally stuck it in her backpack when it was supposed to stay in her desk.

I asked Kayla who gave her the pencil case and she kept saying "Skyler." When I asked her "why" she couldn't give me an answer. 

Then I noticed the pencils. They were new, not sharpened, and had new eraser tops on them. Upon closer inspection I saw that they were those personalized pencils you can buy in a package. The name on them: Kayla.


She still kept saying Skyler gave it to her; I was still confused as to why.

Then Joe discovered the note in Kayla's backpack. I was hoping her teacher might have sent a note explaining the pencil case. But the note wasn't from her teacher. It was written in bright orange marker. One side said, "Love Skyler. To Kayla."

This was written on the other side, "Kayla I love you. You are the friend I ben looking for. I was looking for a kind friend. A soaring friend. A BFF. My BFF."

To receive something so out of the blue like this from one of Kayla's classmates/friends absolutely touched my heart. Not just that she thought enough of Kayla to give her the pencils/pencil case too, but a heartfelt, genuine note of acceptance and love and friendship from the goodness of Skyler's heart.

This is what I hope for when I sit in an IEP meeting and say I want my daughter to spend the majority of her school time included in the general ed classroom. The chance to develop true, genuine, friendships. For typical kids to see "Kayla" and realize the potential for friendships.

Yes, I had to hold back the tears. 


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32 comments:

Bonita said...

That's so beautiful. Sounds like Skyler thinks Kayla is a really special friend! So sweet!

Leslie said...

Thank you for sharing this story. So beautiful and very sweet!

Grace said...

What a wonderful day for Kayla and for you...so happy for you both!

Mom24 said...

That really is beautiful Michelle.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! And Yes, Yes, Yes!! This is what you want for Kayla, inclusion in school to have a true friend, because they "see" Kayla!! :) and the teachers need to see this and also the administrators!!Kayla can participate in a regular class room!! Good for you when You go to the IEP meeting and share such a wonderful part of Kayla's world during the school day.. true friendship.. love mom/grandma

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

Oh how beautiful!

Rebecca said...

that is so beautiful! you have a lovely family!

Rachel said...

How wonderful!

Karly said...

Happy tears! :)

Becca said...

Wow. That's so sweet! I LOVE hearing stories like this. I read someone else's blog this morning who had a similar story to tell, of unconditional acceptance. I just can't get enough. I bet Kayla's going to have many more such friends. :-)

Kelli said...

Ok, I am NOT holding back the tears...so sweet!! They just keep flowing tonight!

Grandma said...

I'm one of the Grandma's so I don't have to hold back the tears. What more proof do we need that God gave the special gift of Kayla to the perfect parents. Ones that fight for what, in their hearts, they know is best for her. Your love and support has given Kayla so much.

AZ Chapman said...

great to have stories like this it makes the iep wort it soo happy for u all

Abby said...

Thanks for sharing...that is so sweet!

Regina said...

So sweet! I'm glad she has the opportunity to make friends with her peers.

kerry said...

that is awesome. we can all take a lesson from this story. children always look deeper then the skin. a child looks for what is on the inside. sounds like kayla has touched more then this friends heart. she has touched everybody who knows her and everybody who wishes they knew her.

Kerry Mazingo

Brandie said...

This is somethng I'm happy to shed a few tears over! Beautiful!

Jeanette said...

Michelle, this is beautiful and incredibly powerful. Our Past president of DSACT went to Poland last year to share our "Down Syndrome in the 21st Century Video" and to talk about our organization's programs and services to the Poland DS associations. While there she was met with desperate parents who have had no support or real information on DS and a world of little to no inclusion. One of the leaders of a city told the group after Suzanne gave her talk that she was dilusional and that children with DS are never accepted or truly have friendships. Oh for those parents to read this! Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful! <3
when's the play date?

Nicole, The Opinionated Parent said...

That is so awesome Michelle!

Leah said...

As a teacher, I LOVE this! Let the tears flow! :)

starrlife said...

Thanks for sharing that Michelle - beautiful and I am so happy for Kayla! And Skyler.

nichole said...

How sweet!

Crittle said...

I couldn't even BEGIN to hold back my tears. Thank you so very much for sharing this story. My heart is warmed.

L said...

Well, there you went and made me tear up too!

Tricia said...

Add me to the crying list! Big time!

Dee said...

Wow! I love it!

Michelle said...

The tears are flowing. What a beautiful story...just beautiful.

Laura said...

So sweet! :)

Beverly said...

so very sweet and touching xo

Nancy M. said...

Aww, that is so sweet! That's great that she has such a special friend!

Runningmama said...

holding back tears myself, how wonderful for Kayla!