A Very Special Kid

by Shirley Hailstock

Most of you know I have a special needs daughter. She has ADHD and like all kids when she arrives from school each day or on a weekend, everything is all about her. But she's not the one I want to talk about.

The child I am going to talk about is not special needs, not in the manner we usually think of them. She's a beautiful little brown-eyes girl who's allergic to dairy and nuts. She's a tennis player and even at her great age of six, she loves the game.

During the winter some of the kids play indoors, compliments of the USTA (United States Tennis Association). In April, the spring session begins and all the classes are outside. The parents like to welcome the change by throwing a party for the kids in the tennis center right after the last indoor practice.

We get pizza, drinks, cake, etc. none of which our special little child can eat. This year we wanted to do something so she is not excluded from the fun and food. At our parent meeting, we talked with her mom who said she would bring something. We said no, because that wouldn't make her special, but would be what mom always does.

We got her a special pizza with no cheese. We made vegan cookies for her with coconut milk and Earth Balance organic butter (not made from cow's milk). She could drink the fruit juices. Her eyes were like saucers when she saw food she could have.

To top things off, we (read that as I was assigned) wanted to make her feel even more included in everything by telling her (in writing), that we didn't want her left out.

Here's what we said:

We framed the poem and presented it to her as a gift and to include her in all our celebrations.

With so buzz around the word inclusion and personally having a child who is often not able to participate in things, it feels good to do something for those very special people in our lives to let them know how much we appreciate them and their uniqueness.


  1. This is so great. One of my daughters had a milk allergy from birth and one grandson has a severe peanut allergy. His school made him sit for lunch at a table way in the corner all by himself and I thought it was terrible. He felt so left out and it affected him for a long time. So glad you helped this girl join in.

    1. She brought me a beautiful thank you card that she made herself. It's hanging on my refrigerator.

  2. That is so thoughtful and sweet. I'm sure the girl loved it!

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  4. I can finally add comments, but not from my regular browser. Doing some research, I found a reply that said try another browser, so I'm in Firefox and it works.

  5. Thanks for this--it's a wonderful story.


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