When my daughter Ellie was two, she started preschool almost full time. For kids with disabilities, our county offers early childhood special education classes. In that class, she met her friend Wayne and eventually his little brother. Wayne and Ellie were in class together for their first three years of school, and now they play baseball together.
Ellie in Stand Against the R-Word
Jay in Good to Be
Wayne in Proud to Be
Special needs parenting/parenting kids with disabilities/whatever you want to call it can be hard. And not because of our kids. It's hard when people don't understand, or you are dealing with paperwork and Medicaid and a billion phone calls and meetings.
But the friendships our kids have are amazing. Wayne has been Ellie's rock for ages. Ellie will always speak up for Wayne. Although over three years apart, Ellie and Jay play together well. Caroline idolizes Wayne. And as for the parents? It takes a village, especially a village willing to let your kid help tackle. Fortunately, there's no photographic evidence of my contribution to the village - a performance of YMCA to make Wayne happy. Did I mention that performance was on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk?
I love that Caroline and Jay have each other, as they're getting to ages where they'll start to have questions about disability. I'm thankful for brands like Wire + Honey that actively seek out representation of kids with disabilities AND include the little siblings. (The image below has the best background ever and sums up a lot of the kids' relationships.)
All of these were taken at the beach with tired, overstimulated kids, two of whom have impulse control problems due to disability and two of whom have impulse control problems because they're under four. They were great. This isn't my typical posed product work, but Wire + Honey assured me that real is good!