Autism. A birthday party first
This time last year, Bright Eyes was beginning to be invited to birthday parties of his preschool and school classmates. I would show him the invitation and talk quietly but positively about the party, and prepare myself for the very loud 'No, no, no, no party!' which I knew would come.
After about the sixth invitation, he said he would go, until the actual day, when he ran screaming from the car back into the house in fear.
After that, I just began refusing invitations straight up. He missed out on a whole year of birthday parties because I didn't think he was in a position to cope.
Two weeks ago, he came with me when we went to the third birthday party of a little friend of his little brother. He coped beautifully and was not fazed at all. So when he received his own invitation for one of his classmates' party, I said 'yes'.
"Do you mind if I come with him and bring his little brother?" I asked the mother as I wasn't sure if he would be ok with me leaving him.
It turns out that he would have been just fine. He ran straight in, joined in all the play, didn't get upset once, and made me feel like a ridiculously overprotective parent, sitting on the sidelines.
It's very exciting for all of us to see him so much more confident and capable in social situations - especially at parties where he has been so overwhelmed in the past.
Oh, and when he arrived, he gave the birthday boy his gift and card, on which he had traced beautifully the words 'Happy Birthday'. One of his little six year old mates looked over and said, "Wow! Hasn't Campbell's handwriting improved!"