When a northwest suburban Chicago mother brought her son to a public pool for a day of swimming, she left feeling heartbroken.
Kristen Miller Rumphol, of Palatine, wrote in a widely-shared Facebook post last week that she watched as her son Brandon, who has Down syndrome, enthusiastically tried to play with other children at the Algonquin public pool, but no children would play with him.
“He would go up to other kids and say ‘hi boy or hi girl.’ He is still categorized as nonverbal and he is hard to understand but he was trying his best,” Rumphol wrote. “Every single time the kids would either look at him weird and say nothing or just swim away.”
And each time, Rumphol said her son would look back at her in disappointment.
The popular post, which has been shared more than 12,100 times, calls for parents to educate their children.
“Tell your children that children with special needs want the same thing they do, they want to be accepted,” the post reads. “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.”
Rumphol said she secretly hoped her post would go viral and raise awareness for children with special needs.
“They just want to be loved, accepted and included,” she wrote.