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The day that almost none of the comrades of my son is come to his birthday | Kathleen O'Grady

The day that almost none
of the comrades of my son is
come to his birthday
Kathleen O'Grady 

Become a fan 

Research Associate at Concordia University

Publication: 03.04.2015
Updated: 03.04.2015
0:04 ET




"Because of the short notice, we regret to decline your invitation to the birthday party of your son. "This
word addressed by the mother of a student, I received it as a full stomach punch. One more time.
You see, my son Casey autism. For weeks, I was busy me plan his seventh birthday. I ordered a cake, bought
decorations, sent invitations; even the local Herpetarium would present reptiles. When our child has special
needs, we tend to do more than is necessary to point out those little memorable moments that will make up
the fabric of their lives; seeking to counterbalance all the crap that will cross his way sooner or later, against
which we can do nothing.
A kind of madness preparations had taken hold of me; well in advance, I had filled surprise bags and
handmade my invitations. I was convinced that this time the Casey classmates would point to that day. If I
was taking me well in advance, they would come without fail.
His previous anniversary, the sixth, was a disaster.
About ten friends we had invited, only one showed up. The majority of parents had not even bothered to
respond to our invitation. Regardless, the party took place anyway; the house was full of people and my son
was pampered beyond all expectations. A few days earlier, seeing that my invitations had harvested a radio
silence, I had assumed that nobody would come. That's why I decided to bring all our neighbors and close
friends with their children; we had lots of fun. However, I could not help but be sad that only one of Casey's
friends was present - a beautiful child, great, big heart.
I swore that would not happen again.
A year later, so I returned it, making sure that both myself fully take in advance. I thought even an
irresistible attraction: there would be snakes and alligators! Cake and reptiles! Who could refuse such an
invitation? Well, almost all his comrades, in the end.
The first round of invitations that have generated no response, I confessed not defeated me so far: I made a
second move. Then a third. Then you will understand why the refusal invoking the "short notice" shocked
me. I myself was caught very early, but at the time of the third round, he remained in effect until shortly
before the party - as did not fail to remind me of signing the ticket.
I wanted to say in all sincerity that this time I had neglected nothing to do things properly. I wish my

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The day that almost none of the comrades of my son is come to his birthday | Kathleen O'Grady

nice guy, shy and sociable, but has great difficulty communicating, may welcome his comrades home, as do
all children. That, for once, it can also give them a "normal" experience at this age, autism having already
deprived of so many other things.
It's not as if his comrades harass or abuse. In fact, it's worse than that: Casey considers all his friends.
At school, children take care of him, they treat him well; they do not insult, do not denigrate. This is a good
school, full of good children. The teachers are exceptional;they do everything in their power to meet its
specific needs and integrate with the rest of the group. Most parents are probably good people too. I can not
confirm beyond doubt because I have not met them all.
They probably do not know that my son has autism; if they were aware of this simple fact, they might have
hesitated to decline our invitation. Casey does not wear t-shirt that's announcement in full; most seven year
olds would not know what the word means, even if they wished.
I guess my son has just published their "strange", singular or eccentric. This child does not always look at
people in the eye, which does not always respond when spoken to, which becomes excited and clap their
hands when a good day, which when attempts to communicate, pronounced long sometimes difficult to
understand given the lack of context sentences, always released at a time when we do not expect it, and
tends to return again and again on his favorite subjects.
These parents have not had time to get to know Casey as have many of our friends. To realize that it is
intelligent and affectionate and has a keen sense of humor. Its qualities are hidden by their
differences; some people take a long time before we see beyond it. Others never will.
This is what I wanted to say to a mother who took the time, after all, to address a complaint I am a good
mother and I have a good son; we sent our invitation late, it is true, but our one desire was to celebrate in
good company, so do not like you'd like to join us? Instead, I kill, because in reality, I had too much to say.
So I put Plan B into action, just as last year. I invited a load of neighbors and friends with their children;
house was crowded and we had fun like crazy. Casey felt pampered and surrounded as ever. He had a nice
And you know what? TWO classmates showed up, a 100% improvement over the last time.
Also, I had a small revelation: Casey cares. Just like last year, he was delighted, happy that our house is
filled with people of all ages who know and love him for what he is, namely an extraordinary being. I
realized that my son did not feel like me the desire to give a "normal" party, that this need was mine; and
that in everything he does, Casey had his way of his own to enjoy all that life can bring.
Finally, I realized that this "difference in the way of doing things" would accompany us throughout our
lives; it was better that I learn to relieve me of some old conventions. I know now that I visited guilty during
a brief interval, to aspire to a certain "normality" for my son. Or have you asked, as I happened to do it many
times since, it's so great, normality, after all?



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