Dear Parents, Please Invite My Child with Special Needs to Your Child’s Birthday Party -A Heartbroken Mom


Dear Parents, Please Invite My Child with Special Needs to Your Child's Birthday Party -A Heartbroken Mom

Dear Parents,

My seven-year-old burst into tears as soon as he got in the car. “Everyone got invited to Henry’s birthday party except me. Why don’t they like me? I want to be like everyone else. I want to have friends, too.”

Do you know how heartbreaking that is as a mother? No, you probably don’t because your kid got in the car excited about Henry’s birthday party. Be grateful you get to shell out $25 on Minecraft trinkets instead of consoling a sweet little soul who feels like he’s not good enough.

My kid is smart, funny and kind. He also has ADHD and unfortunately, his symptoms are often all people see. He isn’t always able to contain his energy. He fidgets, doesn’t always stay in his seat and blurts out whatever he’s thinking. He zones out and doesn’t always hear instructions. If you’ve volunteered in the classroom or attended special events, you might have noticed the teacher frequently redirecting him and written him off as a problem child.

He has trouble making friends because of his ADHD. He struggles with social skills. He doesn’t understand personal space, talks fast and loud and interrupts. He’s always moving and sometimes plays too rough. He says what he’s thinking, often not realizing it might come across as rude. 

He notices the differences between himself and other children. He frequently comes home from school and cries, “Why am I different? Why does my brain have to be broken?” I hug him and tell him he’s not broken and our differences are what make us interesting. I remind him of his strengths. He’s a fast runner, talented artist, could write books on dinosaurs and has a kind heart. He asked for dog and cat food for the animal shelter instead of toys for his last birthday. 

He’s probably helped your child. I’m in frequent contact with the teacher, discussing my son’s challenges and progress. She’s a wonderful teacher who really sees my son beyond his ADHD and makes sure to pass those glimpses on to me, so I’m not bogged down by his struggles. She tells me of him bringing tissues to a child who sneezed, volunteering to give up his cupcake when they were short one, sitting next to a new kid at lunch and frequently being the first to offer a “good job” or “you can do it” to classmates.

Your child probably doesn’t tell you about his great qualities, though. You probably only hear about him knocking over their block tower, balling up his math test in frustration or telling your daughter he doesn’t like her new haircut. Hey, I get it. Why would you invite a child who has known behavior issues and has hurt your kid’s feelings to a birthday party? Who needs that added hassle, right?

You should invite him because he’s just a little boy and he doesn’t deserve to be shunned for something he can’t control. Think about how your child would feel if they were the only one left out again and again. Imagine your child sitting alone at lunch while everyone whispers and giggles over the party invitations little Chloe is trying to hand out secretly so they don’t see. But of course, they see. They also know everyone else was at Billy’s pool party. And Hannah’s skating party. They notice everyone else exchanging stickers they got in Grayson’s goodie bags. Then imagine watching your child sob and be feel ashamed of who they are because of this.

Oh, and it’s not just my child who deals with the exclusion. Moms, we’re adults. There’s no need for you to whisper, avoid eye contact or stop talking when I approach you at PTA meetings. I’m not going to leave my hyperactive child on your doorstep if you are nice to me. I’m an adult and while being excluded still stings, I have the skills to be able to handle it. A second-grader doesn’t and shouldn’t be forced to develop them.

I assure you I’m aware of my child’s challenges. We’re working with a doctor and therapists to find the best strategies to help manage his ADHD. I would never just turn him loose at a birthday party. If we can chat about the party beforehand, I can prepare him for what to expect. I’m also very willing to stay at the party. He deserves to be included.

Please invite my child with ADHD to your child’s birthday party. I promise we’ll actually show up if we RSVP, bring a great gift and I’ll even pitch in to help if you need an extra set of hands. He’s a great kid and being left out repeatedly is making it very hard for him to see that about himself.

Sincerely, 

A mom with an amazing kid who happens to have ADHD

Also READ: Animation About Playground Inclusion Delivers An Important Message

Dear Parents, Please Invite My Child with Special Needs to Your Child's Birthday Party -A Heartbroken Mom

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