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.


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.


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… 

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

To Our Thanksgiving Host, From the Mom of the Child Who Won’t Eat Your Meal

Dear Thanksgiving Day Host, Before we arrive in a few days, I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for offering to host Thanksgiving Day dinner. I am beyond thankful. In fact, when you said, “Why don’t you guys come here?” I swear I hung up the phone and screamed, “Hallelujah I don’t [...]

To the Loved Ones Who Get Why We Bring a PB&J to Thanksgiving Dinner

The other day my cousin sent out a group text giving out the details for the Thanksgiving party she and her husband are hosting. Pretty soon my family members were bantering back and forth with tales of past feasts and pictures to prove it. I couldn’t help but pause for a minute. You see, out of [...]
Sarah smiling

To the People Who Call Me Brave for Sharing My Asperger’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of every class, there’s always a bit of an icebreaker. Sometimes it’s a specific question like, “What’s your favorite movie?” (“The Cabin in the Woods,” incidentally) or “Who’s your favorite band?” (This can get awkward when you only listen to musical cast albums.) Or it can just be an open-ended “introduce yourself” [...]

To the Woman Who Taught Me About Being a Special Needs Mom

Dear Mom, I tell you all the time how much I appreciate you. I do what I can to show you that gratitude as often as possible, yet I always wish I could do more.  You are the one whose guidance and love taught me to love myself the way I so comfortably do, and [...]