In the beginning, one of the things we were most concerned about was the comments, the stares, the lack of acceptance of our little guy.
Four years later, we have had our faith restored. Sure, we get our fair share of comments and stares, but when we weigh it all out, for every negative encounter we've experienced, we've had a dozen good ones.
Maybe it's Aiden's amazing little smile or vibrant personality that disarms people. Or perhaps I've mastered the "I'd love to answer any questions you might have" expression when I make eye contact with someone who has just turned a curious eye on my son. And sometimes I just have to remember to not immediately get defensive, putting a negative spin on what may not necessarily be a negative encounter.
Whatever it may be, I have been happy with the number of people - both kids and adults - who:
1. Step up and ask questions or start a simple friendly conversation about Aiden.
2. Completely overlook Aiden's differences, including him in activities without hesitation.
3. Cautiously include him, then realize he's just like every other kid and continue playing like it's no big deal.
Today, I'm grateful for the parents who teach their children to be accepting of EVERYONE, the kids who include Aiden despite him looking different, and the adults who understand that starting a conversation with me about my son is something I welcome.
If everyone could learn to be a bit more accepting of everyone with physical and developmental differences, this world would be a better place for sure.