To the ignorant, uneducated parents at Round Hill Park on Sept. 14: The young man I work with was playing on an adaptive playground when your children decided to make him the target of their “play.” They asked what was wrong with him, “shot” him with water guns, yelled at each other to “shoot the nutsy” and poked him with their toy sword — while you sat by, watching and condoning their behavior!
After being appalled by your children's behavior, angry that not one of you did anything about it and hurt for Derek, I realized that he, who has Cri-du-Chat Syndrome, is a better person than you and your children. He thought your kids were playing with him; he was laughing, having fun, when the whole time they were making fun of him.
Derek is an amazing young man who has taught me how to love unconditionally and be patient and understanding. You should be so lucky to have a child like him. But God knew better than to give parents like you someone as special as he is.
I want this letter to remind all parents, not just those at the park that day, to teach their children about disabilities and differences and to make them aware that although children may be “different,” they still want to be liked — to be accepted! Your lack of awareness for persons with disabilities not only hurts them but those who know just how amazing they truly are.
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