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Jerri R Rush

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Why Can't He Play?
By Jerri R Rush
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Children's short story about accepting disabilities.

It was a lively day at the city park. Children were running wild through the green grass where a baseball game had started in the open field. Connor loved to play baseball.

Connor, an energetic six year old, ran to his mother to ask permission to play with the larger children in the game.

"Can I play?! Can I play?!"

His mother sat still for a moment as he jumped with excitement. "Why don't you go play on the playground with the kids your age? It'll be fun."

So, with a frown, Connor obeyed his mother and slowly walked over to the playground where all the small children were playing. In no time Connor was having fun swinging and climbing through the mazes. There were so many children there that Connor had not noticed, until now, a little boy that he had never seen before. The small boy did not look much younger than Connor. He sat very still and quiet in his stroller.

The stroller was also new to Connor. It was larger than most and had all kinds of belts on it. The little boy was strapped in like he was in a car seat. The little boy's mother sat next to him and fed him some pudding. When the little boy finished eating, Connor walked over to see him.

"Hello, my name is Connor. What's yours?"

The little boy did not respond. To Connor's surprise, the mother spoke. "His name is Johnathan."

Connor stood there watching Johnathan with curiosity for a few moments, then finally asked, "Can he come play with me?"

Johnathan's mother looked sad for a moment. She replied, "I'm sorry, Connor. Johnathan cannot play."

Immediately Connor replied, "Why can't he play?"

She looked at Connor and smiled. "Johnathan is different. He is not able to play like you. He has cerebral palsy. Some kids like him can run and play like you do, but he cannot yet. Johnathan cannot walk or talk."

Connor thought about the playground and the baseball game. He loved to run and walk and play. He never knew some kids could not do any of these things. He felt sad for Johnathan.

Noticing Connor's frown, Johnathan's mother continued. "He is a happy boy though. He still has fun and plays while sitting in his chair. He likes to play with his own toys. Do you want to play with him?"

Connor told Johnathan's mom he would stay and sat down in front of Johnathan.

"What kinds of toys do you have?" Connor asked, not knowing what to expect.

Johnathan, with a toy car in his hand, turned to Connor and smiled.

Connor smiled back. He loved cars.

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Reviewed by Shanna Murphy 8/14/2008
jerri really when did that happen was i there.. i was crying.. at school...
Reviewed by Jean Pike 3/30/2007
I like this, Jerri. I like that your Connor found the samenesses of he and his friend, rather than the differences. I work in a classroom with children with severe/profound MR, and half the battle of helping them to be accepted members of the school community is in educating other children, helping them to see those things that make our students the same as them. This was written with compassion and honesty, and I thank you for that. If you get a chance, please stop by my page and read my short story, Muddy Sneakers. I think you will enjoy it.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 3/29/2007
This is an excellent write, I worked with children with severe disabilities before, they are really sweet spirited kids
God Bless

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