Words form the backbone of most relationships, even for young children. How can first-graders get to know a new classmate if he does not use words? Over time, they'll get to know each other, but the process will be slow and involve even more frustration than usual.
As Owen Wigger starts kindergarten this year, he and his family have written a letter to his teacher and classmates to help them get to know him better, because he does not speak any words. This letter will help overcome incorrect assumptions (like assuming that Owen cannot understand the words others speak to him), and will provide ideas for common ground between Owen and the other kids.
We're sharing Owen's letter as a model not just for day school, but for church youth programming as well. If you have children or youth in your church who have difficulty communicating with words, work with them and their families so that these kids can participate as fully as possible not just in the program, but more importantly in building relationships with the adults and youth involved.
Special thanks to Owen and his family for letting us share this letter on The Network.