My son with ASD Does Not Like Birthdays

It's safe to say after nearly 11 years that Bright Eyes does not like birthdays.

There is, of course, one exception. He likes birthdays if they are his own. He does not like birthdays that belong to anyone else.  There are too many demands, too many expectations, too much trying to be nice.

I think he feels out of control.

Today is my birthday and yesterday we had a birthday dinner. His sister took the other kids shopping for a present. He refused to go. She organised a card on which everyone wrote something nice about me. He refused to participate. 

"Oh, no, I will write," he said, a few minutes later and put pen to paper. 

You're quite funny, he said, but you make me cry. Quite a LOT!

We sat up for dinner. First he refused to come. Then he refused to stay for dessert. He wouldn't watch me open the presents and he was grumpy all evening.

This morning, on the actual day, he said a reluctant happy birthday, but later, when I got cross at him for using my ipod when he supposed to be doing something else, he wrote me this note:

campbell note.jpg

You know what? I didn't even feel the tiniest bit mad. He came downstairs looking glum.

"Did you read your note?"

"Oh, yes," I said. "And I'm really impressed."

He looked curious.

"When you were in year 3, you hated writing so much you'd hardly do two sentences and it was all complain, complain, complain. Now you can sit down and write a whole page with no problems."

"I've done more than a page," he said. "I've done like three."

"Yeah. And you know what else is amazing?" I asked.

"What?" he said, his unhappiness gone.

"Your handwriting is SO neat."

He actually looked pleased. I took him by the arm. "Now, let's go and you can do that thing you were supposed to do before."

Later he apologised to me for the note. 

It's a tough time of year with four birthdays in four weeks in our family, but we just have to give him space and time to process it. I'm hoping at his sister's 21st in 6 years he might turn up to the party and actually enjoy himself.