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When Your Child With Special Needs Doesn't Receive Any Invitations

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The summer is almost over in Massachusetts, and the kids will go back to school in a few weeks. In many areas of the country, they have headed back already.

As much as I don’t look forward to returning to the rigorous school routine, there is a relief in knowing that the summer is coming to a close. I have three boys, and our weeks have been filled with getting them to different places with their friends. They have received invitations to sleep over, invitations to ball games, invitations to the beach, invitations to go fishing and invitations to the movies. That is, except for my middle son, Davis, who didn’t receive any invitations this summer.

I never get the opportunity to say to Davis, “It’s for you.” I would give anything to be able to say to him, “This text is for you. You’ve been invited to the movies.” Or “This phone call is for you. You’ve been invited to your friend’s house.” Or “This invitation that we received in the mail for a birthday party — it’s for you.” And as heartbroken as I am that I never get to say these words to him, I’m even more saddened when he asks me who he’s going to play with. The answer is I don’t know. At 12, he no longer wants to play with his mom.

I believe this is the most difficult part of having a child with special needs. The medical issues, the extra financial cost, navigating the school system and the longterm concerns are significant, but the real weight comes from this: The lonely summer days, knowing you have this wonderful human being as a child, whose entire summer could be changed by a single invitation, and realizing that the invitation may never arrive. Knowing your wonderful child deserves the social invitation that is easily extended to others, but that won’t be extended to him, unless you intervene.

So I will accept that responsibility. I will make the phone call next week, and I will send the text. I know a lot of children with special needs who would be happy to accept the invitation I can extend. And I will ask all of the wonderful volunteers who are so available throughout the school year to remember us next summer, to step outside of the organized programs and know that we would love to see them across the break.

If I’ve learned anything from being Davis’s mother, it’s that things may not always play out as I wish they would, but we’ve landed in a pretty amazing community, and there’s no need to go it alone.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us about a time someone went out of his or her way to make you and/or your child feel included or not included. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: August 19, 2015
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