My grandmother used to tell me that kids with special needs are God

September 08, 2015

Posted By: Shaunescy

One of my 9-year-old daughter’s best friends has special needs. His name is Tyler and he is the most amazing, beautiful, happy and loving kid. Tyler has autism, apraxia of speech and other issues.

His mother graciously agreed to share Tyler’s story with us this month (see page 10), so I won’t go into it too much here. What I want to talk about is his ninth birthday party.

Tyler may have special needs, but just like ?any other kid, he wants to have friends and? play. Sadie (my 9-year-old) has been Tyler’s friend since the first day of school. She genuinely cares about him, watches out for his well-being (even accused his aide of not being nice enough once), plays with him and is always positioned next to him during school concerts because she can gently bring his over-excitement back to “appropriate concert behavior.”

She told me once that Tyler didn’t like to run, so when all of the other kids were running around, she held his hand and they walked together. He enjoys running now and Sadie says that playing chase with Tyler is one of her favorite things about him. They’re friends. So when we were invited to Tyler’s surprise birthday party, we made sure to attend.

It was a swimming party held at Eagle Mount and the entire second-grade class was invited, including the teacher. Parents moved mountains, and pretty much the entire second grade class, including the teacher, was there.

I wish I could tell you about the look on Tyler’s face when he walked into the party, but I can’t. I was locked in my car crying. Crying for how caring all of these kids were. Crying because Tyler may need more than the average child, but that doesn’t get in the way of him being a child.

I collected myself (it took a while) and returned to pick Sadie up from the party. The kids were all still in the party room, huddled  around a table with Tyler at the head, opening presents. That look I can tell you about. He looked like a proud and happy 9-year-old boy who just had the time of his life with a lot of friends.

As the lump in my throat grew and the water works began welling up in my eyes, I told Sadie we had to go (so that I wouldn’t embarrass either of us). Tyler ran up to her with a giant smile and wide-open arms and asked, “Can I give you a hug, Sadie?” Yup, I cried while they hugged it out for a bit.

My grandmother used to tell me that kids with special needs are God’s children. She’s right, and we are all blessed to know them.

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