-- A Canadian mom took to Facebook last month to address the reason why, she said, her son was the only child not invited to a class birthday party.
She added: "I never thought it would get as much attention as it did. I have received so many comments from parents that have said the same thing happened to their child and they didn't have the courage to say anything."
Engele said she first sent an email to the parents throwing the birthday party. She then shared the same letter on Facebook where it received 33,000 reactions.
It read, in part:
Although she was sad that Sawyer was not invited, Engele believed the parents may have not felt "equipped" to discuss why Sawyer is "different" than some of his other peers in the class, she said.
On June 24, the parents replied to Engele's email, informing her that they discussed Sawyer and Down Syndrome with their child.
The child even sent a special birthday invitation to Sawyer, Engele said.
"Sawyer was beaming, he ran up and showed me the invitation, he was so happy," Engele said. The parent agreed that it would be helpful to speak to the class about Down Syndrome next year.
"I think it can leave such a positive impression on a typical child to have a true friendship with another child that has special needs," she added. "I also think it’s so important for the child that has special needs to have these friendships as well. Often people with special needs live in isolation, only having friendships with their family or caregivers. It’s so important for people with special needs to have these relationships and be included. I hope that parents will consider making that one extra special invitation with their child to include someone who may not have been included before."
Engele said she's glad to report the story had a happy ending.