Iowa mom, Lacey Brandenburg, was shocked when another parent her son Ashton had played with over the Christmas break, sent her a note asking that Ashton not play with or even speak to her son anymore. You see, Ashton “suffers from intellectual disability (mental retardation), autism, cognitive disorder and adhd,”1 and the parents of the other child were worried it would, in essence, rub off on their child.

Ashton’s parents, Lacey and Jason:

Lacey Brandenburg special needs note

Lacey posted the note in full on Facebook, revealing she and husband Jason were heartbroken:2Yahoo NZ, January 4, 2018.[/note


I am sorry but after speaking with my husband we don’t feel that your son playing with ours is such a good idea.

While he was over here on Xmas break we noticed he was playing with toys that you would expect a younger child than himself to play with as well as the cartoons he asked to watch were that of a 3 – 5-year-old.

We want our child to play with toys and watch television for his age, not younger or older than him.

The hand flapping is a concern we don’t want our son to learn to do that!

We ask the boys don’t speak or play together and keep a distance from each other at school.

We know playing with toys is one thing but we want our son to play with toys appropriate for his age not those of a younger child.

We want him to watch cartoons and TV of his age as well, Ashton was watching Bugs Bunny, Pokemon and Tom and Jerry, those are cartoons of a younger child.

I know he has a disability but we feel his disability may hold our son’s level of comperhansion [sic] life, his communication, socialization and learning level may be at risk if playing and being around Ashton continues.

On the other hand Ashton was very well behaved, he said please/thank you, and he picked up while here.

Please keep our son away from ours so ours are not picking up the idea that playing with toys or watching cartoons younger than his age is ok.

Lacey says she posted the note to show what parents with special children needs face, “I dont understand how u comprehend not only giving the child a letter like this is ok but how u consider this type of parenting is ok.”3Yahoo NZ, January 4, 2018.[/note

And to make matter worse, Lacey says this was Ashton’s only friend at school.

Lacey Brandenburg

Her post has gone viral with over 8000 shares and thankfully, countless kind and supportive comments.

Parents, it’s up to us- the adults- to show children how to get along. This type of behavior is simply not acceptable. Austim spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, cognitive issues…they don’t rub off. Please, teach your children to be kind. There’s a stunning lack of it in the world.

XO- Erin

Sources and References

  1. Yahoo NZ, January 4, 2018.