Kindergarten has been the best thing, for me.
I'm loving my kindergarten class. I have great friends and amazing teachers.
The kids in my class don't seem to notice my bulky equipment.
They don't seem to notice my noisy talking.
They do seem to understand me, even though I am not using the words everyone else does.
They like me, even though I can't run and play with them.
They like me even though I can't smile and laugh at their jokes.
They like me, even though I can't talk with them.
My school has made sure that I am treated just like all the other kids.
At school, I am not stared at. No one even talks about me. It's pretty cool.
And, I have been to lots of parties!
(I have been invited to other parties, but I wasn't able to get to them.)
I love parties! I love cake! I love presents!
So many of those party invitations really touched our hearts, so we are going to write an Open Letter to the mums and dads who invited Dexter to the parties.
To the Parents who invited Dexter to their Child's Party,
Thank you for including Dexter, even though it might have seemed challenging or a bit scary, at first.
To the parents who sent us a private message, saying a play centre would be open a bit before the party started, in case Dexter was too overwhelmed... Thank you.
To the parents who messaged us and asked what foods they could get for the party, to make sure Dexter could join in... Thank you. Thank you for thinking of him, when you were catering food.
To the parents who messaged us and checked whether Dexter could eat cake, when their child brought cupcakes to school, for their birthday... Thank you.
To the parents who sent in chocolate or jelly, because Dexter might not have been able to eat the cakes their child took to school... Thank you.
To the parents who made sure an extra ticket was available, so we could accompany Dexter... Thank you.
To the parents who encouraged us to bring bulky equipment, so Dexter didn't have to be in his wheelchair, but could stand up, like his friends... Thank you.
To the parents who have taught their child to see Dexter, and not his equipment... Thank you.
Thank you for going out of your way to be so thoughtful and to really include Dexter.
In the past, we have taken Dexter to a few parties that have left us in tears; feeling sad and lonely. We've often sat in corners or off to the side. Out of the way. Dexter's disabilities were highlighted and we were sad for what he couldn't do.
This year, Dexter has been to so many parties. And, they have left us feeling hopeful and happy. We've watched him being treated like all the other kids. We've watched the kids all come and say hi; smiling because Dexter was there. We've watched kids stand beside Dexter, with an arm casually slung over his arm, comfortable.
Often, when we go somewhere with Dexter, we are stared at and overhear people talking about us. Severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a vision impairment and being non-verbal does make you stand out. Being in a wheelchair gets you noticed.
But, being stared at and openly discussed is not ok.
At the parties we have been to, this year, we haven't felt sadness or loneliness. We've felt welcomed and we've felt that people were happy we were there.
When Dexter had a moment where we needed to get to him and help him, we felt people watching... But, they were watching because they were ready to jump in and help, if we needed it. They were worried. They cared.
Dexter has been talked about, at parties this year, but... The discussions were during conversations involving us. Parents noticed his smiles and his cheekiness.
Sometimes, people asked about his disabilities, but only so they could understand him better.
To the parents who invited Dexter to their child's birthday parties... Thank you.
You really touched our hearts. You gave us hope for an inclusive and positive community. You give us hope, that Dexter will go through school with some amazing young people. You give us hope that Dexter will form real and genuine friendships.
You showed us how easily Dexter can fit in.
You might not have seen the smiles on our faces or the little tears in the corner of our eyes, so, we wanted to say Thank You.
Thank you for including Dexter and making sure he had so much fun.
Physical Toll of Cerebral Palsy
They Want Octopus Arms
Little Fingers Reaching
Something to Say But No Words to Say It
And Then, They Whispered about Me
Stuck in a Rut
Embrace the Lion
I’m a Kindy Kid!
Dexter's First Month
Dexter's Cerebral Palsy
Who is Dexter?
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