Kristen Braconi brought her son Carter, who has high functioning autism and ADHD, to a South Brunswick skate park on Tuesday to celebrate his birthday, she said. They had the park to themselves for about a half hour before a group of middle schoolers showed up.
“He wasn’t sure if they were going to take over the park or include him, so he was like, ‘Oh no, I guess I’m going to have to leave.’ He doesn’t always do well with large groups of people,” Braconi said. “But these kids came up to him, started being super nice and playing and showing him things.”
Donning a blue helmet and his scooter, Carter zoomed around the park, following the group of boys and impressing them with his tricks. All of a sudden, the group of kids burst out in song, loudly singing “Happy Birthday" and bringing Braconi to tears.
One of the boys, Gavin, also gave him a mini skateboard and showed him how to use it, Braconi said.
“When he fell, without even hesitating, Gavin picked him up and showed him how to ride. It was amazing, and they did all this without anyone prompting them,” Braconi said.
Now the police are looking for these middle schoolers -- to give them a pizza party. Read the rest of the story here. And remember: This is the amazing thing about mixed age play -- kids discover empathy.
Here's how to bring mixed age free play to your school.