Kristen Miller Rumphol never thought that she would be one of "those" mothers who wrote open letters online about their plight. However, after leaving the pool with a broken heart, this Illinois mom is standing up for her child — and others like him.
When Kristen took her two kids to the pool, she watched as her son, Brandon, tried to connect with other kids. She explained that the 11-year-old, who has Down syndrome, would go up to other children and say, "Hi boy" or "Hi girl."
"You see, NO ONE wanted to play with my son. He is still categorized as nonverbal and he is hard to understand but he was trying his best!" Kristen wrote on Facebook. "Every single time the kids would either look at him weird and say nothing or just swim away."
As Kristen's heart shattered for her child, a disappointed Brandon would look back to his mom, confused about why the other kids were being so mean to him. "Parents, please educate your children! Tell your children that children with special needs want the same thing they do, they want to be accepted," Kristen wrote. "They want to be included and treated just like every other 'normal' child. They want friends that won't judge them and will just accept them as they are."
For those who don't know what to say if their children ever ask what Down syndrome is, Kristen has the perfect answer:
Tell them it is a third copy of the 21st chromosome. Every person with Down syndrome will learn to do the same thing as everyone else it just takes them longer to get there. They will need more help to there. But they WILL get there!
Kristen admitted that she hopes her post goes viral so that it sparks conversations between parents and their kids. "Help me to spread awareness for all children with special needs, not just Down syndrome," she wrote. "They just want to be loved, accepted and included!"