The One-of-a-Kind Shirt That Should Be Ordinary February 17 2019

Ten year old Kereni loves to dance, read, do judo and spend time with her friends. She regularly participates in dance workshops with the New York City Ballet and is a world traveler having visited China, India, Israel, Mexico and many other countries. An energetic and happy kid, her smile lights up the room as you can clearly see!



She also happens to have quadriplegic cerebral palsy which makes it hard for her to walk, sit, use her hands, and talk. In order to communicate with her friends and family, she uses eye movement and an eye gaze controlled computer which she operates by blinking her eyes. 

"Our children are either invisible or stared at" said Kereni's mother, Iris, during a conversation about how children with special needs are rarely included in mainstream representation.
 
Together we set out to change that with this shirt.
 

After speaking to Iris about what she and Kereni would most like to see represented, I created a design of three girls simply having fun together. Feeling included, valued, and having a sense of belonging is something that we all want. Children with special needs are certainly no exception yet they are rarely represented with their peer group. Can you imagine the frustration of constantly being left out?

Our design also sends the important message that it’s okay to engage in a traditional activity in a non-traditional way. There's room for all of us to be who we are and still share a friendship. In fact differences usually enhance a friendship in a way that benefits everyone. That's why we chose to celebrate three similar, yet different, ways to roll with bright colors and a festive spirit designed to appeal to all kids. 

This is a shirt for everyone. If your child is typically developing, wear this shirt to show support for those with differences. Use this shirt as a tool to start a conversation about why inclusion matters and how differences don't limit opportunities for friendship. We've put together a page of resources, books, videos and ways to share this message with your child or others.

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, we would love to hear from you!  We plan to continue to represent children with special needs in future shirt designs and would love to have your input so that we can best reflect what you would like to see. We would also like to have more children with special needs modeling all our shirt designs. If this is something your child would like to do, please let us know. 

We want to donate a percentage of the proceeds of this shirt's sales back to a special needs non-profit that is important to you! Tell us about your group and get your own unique code. We will donate 25% of the proceeds from any sale with your code back to your group.