For children on the spectrum, special events, holidays, and birthday parties can be overwhelming. The onslaught of noise, commotion, colors, and socialization can trigger meltdowns or stimming for a child with autism. For that reason, many parents have to carefully vet the invitations their child receives; they don’t want to overwhelm their child, and they also want to ensure that the focus doesn’t turn from the celebration to their child.
Tricia Rhynold’s seven-year-old son Timothy got an invitation to a birthday party, and Tricia was prepared to turn it down, like she had turned down every other invitation over the years. She was well-versed in her son’s needs and triggers, and knew these types of settings were less than ideal. While she hated that this alienated him from making friends, she always declined invitations.
Until this one.
Timothy received a special birthday invitation. This was yet another birthday party where the whole class was invited, meaning high potential for meltdown behavior, but on the invite the birthday boy’s mother had penned a special note to Tricia.
The letter 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.”
That last sentence had such an incredible effect on Tricia. It rocked her. “Let me know how we can make it work.” What a beautiful, kind sentence.
And so Tricia enthusiastically RSVP’d for her son.
Per her blog: “I don’t know this Mom or even this child personally. I want to. Desperately. This Mom wrote exactly what I needed to see that day and didn’t even know it. This Mom gives me hope for Timothy’s future when sometimes I get stuck in the darkness of his diagnosis. This Mom is everything I strive to be. This Mom rocks. This ——>(ME) Mom will be RSVPing a HELL YES for the first time ever. And I can’t wait.”Whizzco