Autism and Party invitations

Incase you didn’t know, I have two almost seven-year old boys. Both go to different special needs schools, as both have an intensely different level of needs neither of which can be provided completely by any mainstream school. I have Max who has ADHD and learning difficulties, and Leon who has low functioning autism, he’s non verbal, and does very little himself without support. I wouldn’t change either of them for the world!
As both my children are in special schools, it’s expected that the “normal rules” don’t apply when it comes to parties or social things. We all “expect” the unexpected.. sorta. Max got an invitation to a party, that was at an ASD friendly club (Autism Spectrum Disorder) which ended up being a fun little sports group that the birthday boy went to every two weeks. Max is a very busy boy, there wasn’t much information in the invitation but I knew I could get into contact with the boys mum through Facebook and sent her a little message asking whether parents were to wait with the children or was it drop off and pick up only.
It was something I’d never really thought about, and because both my kids are at special schools.. I wasn’t and still am not entirely sure if it’s normal or not to leave your children at a child’s birthday party or wait with them. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that perhaps a good idea would be to mention on invitations – especially for kids parties – whether the parents are welcome to wait for supervision purposes or welcome to wait if they feel like it, or welcome to drop kids off and leave emergency contact numbers. I think I might be a bit of a worry wart. I do this thing where I think about how I might come across.. like I don’t want birthday boys mum thinking I don’t trust her to look after my kid, and I don’t want her thinking I’m a clingy mum or trying to grab a freebie or two! So asking her was a bit awkward actually. I started with the whole “I’m not sure what the normal scenario is with birthday parties” which was fair enough, and she was actually really nice about it! But yeah I think mentioning on invitations would be a good thing.
He ended up having a really good time at the party. He was well-behaved, a few hiccups but much less than I’d have expected considering it’s his first non-family party. We came away with a leaflet and might sign him up for after the school holidays. They have classes throughout the holidays – but we go off to my dads caravan through the holidays and don’t want to pay for classes that he’d be missing anyway. I am really proud of Max for managing at a party today. He really surprised me today and I certainly won’t be as hesitant next time he gets any kind of invitation, as I know he can do well in big groups. He certainly proved himself today!

From a proud wee mammy

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