Sometime back around the when Colin had transitioned into Karate classes on a regular basis, there was a 9 year old boy and his brother who were also attending. We started to notice that the boy would go out of his way to make sure he gave Colin a high five when they were celebrating accomplishments during class. With time, he would also go up to Colin before leaving after class was over to tell him what a good job he did or just simply to say goodbye. I also noticed moments where the boy would also try to keep Colin on track in class, remind him what he should be doing, or to tell him to pay attention to the instructors.
Since that time, their friendship has evolved. They were together at a big party the Karate school had, when the boy invited Colin to his birthday party (he specifically told his mom he wanted to invite Colin), and then recently at the perfect attendance party this past weekend. Each time, they seek each other out and play together without limitations or boundaries. As parents of a child who often struggles socially to initiate and follow through with play with his peers, this relationship has been beautiful to see. This friend has quietly been spreading a message of inclusion simply by befriending Colin and accepting him for who he is and despite the differences that may exist between the two of them. We can only hope that Colin will have more friends like this in his future.
We are so thankful to special people like this friend...for defining inclusion, acceptance, and respect.