I had no idea that post would get as much attention as it did. It was viewed over 3500 times!
The number of people that reached out with messages, emails and comments was pleasingly overwhelming. People offered their encouragements for Sienna; they offered friendships and virtual hugs. Sienna is so excited about her new online connections with whom she can continue to further develop her social skills, and she even has a couple of new teen connections with whom she can text!!
I, too, am excited about all the encouragement Sienna has received and am excited about the new friends that I’ve even made as a result of the post. Most people have been so sweet. (Some haven’t been. Some were a little peeved that I wrote it. Oh well.)
What I was really disappointed about, though, was the number of people who commented/messaged/emailed me saying they, too, had experienced the same thing. I can’t even precisely recall how many comments I received where someone said they were also rejected by their peers of a like diagnosis simply because their diagnosis was a bit different or different-looking than a majority of people with the same diagnosis. Some of these rejections happened within the Little People community, others were from different communities.
This floors me! It floors me that people would be rejected by people who should personally know the hurt that is accompanied by being rejected simply because you’re different. You would think they’d be more accepting of others.
The comments I received showed me that bullying can happen BY ANYONE. These comments showed me a need for this topic to surface. Sienna’s experience was obviously not an isolated event and it needed to be discussed. Now.
Thankfully, the LPA has had a great and swift response to this problem. They’re already working on putting together additional Meet & Greets for next year and organizing ambassadors who will seek out and make others feel welcome and offer introductions.
I’ve also seen that parents were thankful for the reminder to teach their children and teens to have compassion for others. It served as a gut check for all of us.
Sienna is back to her happy, joyous self, and thankfully looks back at the conference and remembers the good times she had rather than focusing on the rejections she experienced. She’s looking forward to serving as an ambassador or greeter in some capacity at future conferences.
I see great things happening out of the negative situation and it serves as a great example of using your challenges to inspire change.