Playground ‘Friends’

Rebecca Toal's avatar

by Rebecca Toal
on

It started out as a typical trip to our favourite playground. Except this time, something different happened. 

A friendly little girl came up to my five year old daughter and asked her would she like to play!

This is probably a fairly normal experience for most children. But not for my Brielle.

B did not respond or even look at the girl. But I responded enthusiastically for her “of course she would!”

The girl and B proceeded to go on the see-saw together, ride on the ‘twisty-thing’, swing beside each other, and climb across the bridge and go down the slide.

It made my heart happy to see my little girl who cannot walk, talk, see or hear very well interact with a cute little stranger in a completely typical way at the playground.

The stuff of childhood.

Of course, B took her direction and support from me.

I was her voice answering back to her new friend. Explaining that she couldn’t walk by herself, or talk.

I have to admit though I felt a twinge of sadness when the girl suggested they go through the tunnel and play at the ‘kitchen’.

B couldn’t make it through there by herself and neither could I support her, it just wasn’t possible.

I suggested they go over the bridge and down the slide again.

It’s hard that she’s so dependent sometimes.

I just want to enable her and let her be as independent as she can be!

Like all special needs parents want for their children.

I’m thankful for the actions of the girl’s dad. He didn’t make a big deal of B’s disabilities or act embarrassed that his daughter asked to play with a girl who obviously needed a lot of help.

He just let them be kids and explore the playground together.

B’s new friend really seemed to enjoy playing with her, and B was happy too, which gives me hope for her future social interactions.

Up to now, she mainly has played with her older sisters, family members or ‘carers’.

She has a 1:1 at school to assist her interactions as she is deaf and mostly blind.

On saying goodbye at the swing-set, the girl exclaimed rather indignantly “she didn’t say bye to me!”.

In other words, she didn’t audibly say goodbye back.

I explained to her how she couldn’t talk, but she could wave goodbye and touch her hand, which her dad encouraged she do with B.

It was a very sweet moment for these new playground ‘friends’.

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