Kate, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Colorado with her kids and husband, Steve, is continually inspired by their three children, all of whom have special needs.
Having struggled with judgment from others toward her differently abled kids, Kate was touched when a little girl at her son Nicholas’s kindergarten took a shine to him.
The little girl, said Kate, “likes him just the way he is.”
Nicholas, aged 5, and the little girl, whom Kate calls “E” to protect her privacy, met at kindergarten in 2020. “They like to play outside together,” Kate wrote on her blog, This Special Journey. “They like to sit by each other in school. They even like to hold hands.”
But theirs is not a typical friendship, Kate reflected. Owing to Nicholas’s autism, it is one of inclusion, acceptance, and kindness.
While Nicholas spends much of his day in various therapies or learning life skills, he joins the general education kindergarteners for Morning Circle every day. The kids read, dance, play, and sing songs together.
E, a member of this class, always sits beside Nicholas. Even though Nicholas cannot talk, E chats away to him happily, understanding that he can’t answer back.
“She wants to be friends with him even though he is different from her,” Kate’s blog writes. “She doesn’t treat him any less because he has autism … it melts my heart to see somebody accept my son for who he is.”
Nicholas adores E, she said.
Praising her son’s friend for her “beautiful heart,” Kate reached out to the little girl’s mom to thank her for raising such a thoughtful child. Apparently, E is equally smitten, talking about Nicholas at home “all the time.”
As the children’s kindergarten moved into remote learning in the fall, Nicholas and E were unable to see each other in person. However, their parents orchestrated online playdates; Nicholas “still gets excited” to see E on the computer screen, said Kate.
“He knows who she is and understands she’s his friend,” she explained. “He made a card for her on her birthday.”
As a mother to children with special needs, Kate expressed thanks for her son being included at school and for E’s kindness and friendship.
“I’m grateful E has parents that taught her what it means to accept people who are different from her,” she explained. “E has given me hope for my son’s future.”
Wanting to share her experience of parenting kids with special needs, Kate also manages This Special Journey’s Facebook and Instagram pages as a resource for any families going through a similar situation.
On Jan. 15, Kate posted photos of Nicholas and E back together again, sitting side by side in kindergarten class. “Reunited!” she wrote.
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