Autism: Birthday Party or No Birthday Party? March 10, 2010Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Family, Parenting, special needs.
Tags: Autism, autistic child's birthday party, Family, special needs
Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to plan Fabio’s birthday party. He wants an indoor pool party (we still have snow here).
And I won’t even get into how bothered I am by the fact that he’s turning EIGHT. Where did all that time go? And yet, sometimes it feels like he should be 20 because he’s been 2 for about 10 years…
As I was making out the short guest list, I realized that only one of the kids who had autism had had a party of his own and even that kid just had one or two. And its not a financial thing. The moms, all of whom I know well and for at least 3 years, offer these reasons:
1. He doesn’t “get” the birthday party concept, so why spend the time and money?
2. He doesn’t “get” the presents thing.
3. He doesn’t interact with his peers, so why bother if he won’t even notice anyone’s there.
4. I can’t predict how he’ll behave on that day and if he’s “off”, then it’ll all be a waste.
5. I’m tired of family or friends complaining that he doesn’t come up to them. They don’t get it and I have no patience.
6. He won’t know what he’s missing.
On one hand, I can relate to a lot of what they feel. And yet, even with hesitation, I booked the party today. For this Saturday. (Not too last minute, right?)
Maybe I’m just wishful, but I think Fabio does understand that kids should have a birthday celebration. And I think I’d be sad if the only cake was the one at the dinner table with just the four of us. Is it just that I can’t let the dream of typical die? Maybe. And I’d beat myself up with Italian guilt if I did actually hurt his feelings by not having a party with his peers. But that’s me and it’s what I hope is right for my son.
I’d love to know what others think about having traditional birthday parties for their autistic kids. Do you or don’t you? Do you do it only for your typical kids? And what about the guests: a mix of typical and special needs children or not? What kind of party do you have (ie pool, bowling, etc.)?
Share your thoughts here.