Exclusion can hurt our children and damage their self-esteem, which is why it really is a good idea for every parent to read mum Jennifer Engele’s open letter today.


Jennifer, whose son Sawyer has Down syndrome, took to Facebook this week to share ‘an open letter to the parent that thought it was okay to invite the entire class to their child’s birthday – except for her son’.


In her post, Jennifer acknowledges that Sawyer’s exclusion was no mere ‘oversight’ – all 22 other children in the class were invited to this party, leading Jennifer to make a sad realisation about the reason why Sawyer was snubbed.



She wrote: “I know it’s not because he’s mean, you couldn’t meet a happier child. I know it’s not because he’s not fun, he has a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh. I know it’s not because your child and him don’t get along, he’s brought up your child’s name on several occasions. The only reason why you decided it was OK to not invite my son to your child’s birthday party is because he has Down syndrome.”


Jennifer is far from ‘mad’; rather, she believes that if the other parent knew more about Down syndrome, the decision to exclude Sawyer would not have been made.


She explained: “You see, having Down syndrome doesn’t mean that you don’t want to have friends. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have feelings. It doesn’t mean you don’t like to go to birthday parties. People with Down syndrome want the same things that you and I want. They want to have close relationships, they want to feel love, they want to contribute, they want to have meaningful lives, and they want to go to birthday parties. It may be more difficult at times to understand my child. But the laughter and love that you share doesn’t need interpretation.”



Jennifer also acknowledged that she should have followed in a friend’s footsteps, and started the year off by talking to the class about Down syndrome.


Admitting that they ‘both could have done better’ given the situation, Jennifer went on to extend an important offer to the other parent.


“Please know that I am here to talk if you would like. I may be a mama bear but I am not a scary person. I recognise that we all make mistakes and at the end of the day,” she wrote.



You will be happy to hear that, after her open letter went viral, the other parent acknowledged the incident – and a special invitation was delivered to a delighted Sawyer.


The most important thing however, according to Jennifer, is that her message got through to people.


SHARE to spread that message far and wide.