This topic came as a special request from one of our Facebook fans who has seen some of our videos. The topic is, “How do I handle birthday parties?”
This is an excellent request because it’s a very important subject. For our typically developing children, birthday parties are very exciting! But for a lot of our special friends, they are very traumatic.
A lot of our kiddos really want to go to a birthday party! They get excited when they’re invited, but they might get very stressed about it. Or they’re not getting invited, and they’re very sad about that. And then there are a number of issues that go on around the party itself. I just have a couple of quick tips for you, but if you need more information, talk to your therapist! They will customize a plan that’s specifically for birthday party planning for children with special needs.
1. Visit the venue:
One thing that I did when my child got invited to a birthday party and it was at a venue that I thought was going to be very stressful, maybe something out in the community, was to visit that venue beforehand. That way I could get an idea of what it was like, and that allowed me to judge how well I thought my child would do. It also allowed me to judge some other things I might need to do in preparation.
2. Time it carefully
Often birthday parties are held in homes. You can ask the host family if you can come early, maybe 20-30 minutes before the party actually starts, so that your child can warm up to the environment. That way your child can be there when it’s not really stressful with loud kids screaming and all kinds of activity. You could then leave if it starts to become too much for your child. Or, talk to the family—maybe it’s better if you come at the last part of the birthday party. Maybe they could text you and say, “This would be a great time to come!”
3. Consider a simple party:
When you’re birthday party planning your own child’s birthday, think about whether the venue you’re selecting is the best venue for them. Sometimes just a simple party with family and close friends at home is the happiest, memorable event.
We don’t want our kids to miss out on those opportunities, but we also don’t want them to dread those opportunities. I hope these tips will help you handle birthday parties with your child and please call us if you need any additional ideas!