The First Time My Son With Autism Got a Birthday Invite I Didn't Have to Decline
Dear (Super Cool) Mom,
You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but my son, Timothy, sometimes sits beside your son at school.
Timothy has severe autism spectrum disorder. He is also a 7-year-old little boy who loves and plays with all of his heart. He needs a lot of extra help at school and sometimes seems just plain oblivious to what’s happening right underneath his nose.
He wants friends but sometimes doesn’t know how to make them.
He wants to play but sometimes doesn’t know how to ask.
He wants to be included but sometimes doesn’t know how.
We parents of children with special needs know only too well the hurt our kids feel when they are left out of the social gatherings.
Organized sports, play dates, sleepovers and yes, the dreaded birthday parties.
I can say whole-heartedly that my son has not attended a single one. We have received countless invitations in the past few years, but mostly by kids who mercilessly invite the entire class. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful.
But I wonder if the parents know what would happen if I brought Timothy? The interruptions, the meltdowns. How I would hate to take the spotlight from the birthday child.
So we politely decline. Every single one.
Until your invitation arrived in the mail with a special note. It read:
“Carter sat beside Timothy at school and he always talks about him. I really hope he can come. We are renting a bounce castle that we can attach a small bounce slide at the bottom. We will also have water balloon’s and water guns. Maybe Timothy can come earlier in the day if it would be too much with the whole class. Let me know how we can make it work.”
You wrote exactly what I needed to see that day and didn’t even know it.
Because of your son he is included.
Because of your son he feels wanted.
Because of your son he has a voice.
And I want you to know that because of you I can get through another day.
Because of you I can get through another appointment.
Because of you I can take more stares and more questions.
Because of you I have hope for Timothy’s future.
I just wanted to tell you what a fantastic job you are doing with your son.
This mom will be RSVPing a hell yes for the first time ever. And I can’t wait.
Timothy’s very grateful Mom
A version of this post originally appeared on The Book of Timothy.
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