The 13-Year-Old’s Birthday Party That Has Me Giving Thanks


Often times we hear about the bullies and the kids making fun of others. Well, this story is different.

You know what is cool? When a group of 13-year-olds embraces your nonverbal son with autism as one of their own. No judgments, no condescending comments, no reservations or hesitation. He is just another kid with them.

Jack was invited to a birthday party for another friend with autism. In attendance at this party was at least another 20 “typical” peers in addition to some other nonverbal friends.

It was magical.

From the moment we arrived, Jack and his autistic peers were just regular kids hanging out and dancing. I was so immensely proud of my community and those “typical” kids for embracing Jack like a regular dude. Kudos to them and their families for teaching acceptance and tolerance and for realizing he is just another kid looking for friends to accept him as is.

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My heart swelled with pride and joy for him. He got to experience a real dance party with friends from school and danced nonstop because people kept dragging him out to the dance floor! We left 20 minutes before the party ended and Jack got very upset. “I’m pissed we left early,” he typed… just like a disgruntled 13-year-old who doesn’t want to leave the party.

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Every Thanksgiving I try to focus on all the wonderful things and people in my life and give thanks. This year, I would add these to my gratitude list.

I am thankful… 

For Acceptance.

For dance parties.

For wine at the dance parties.

For giggles from my boy.

For a supportive community.

For people who don’t suck.

What has you thankful this year?

A version of this originally appeared on Hardly Getting By… 

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