24 answers

Child with Asperger's and Birthday Parties

Hi ladies, my son David has been asking me questions lately about birthday parties and it is breaking my heart. He is 9 and he has only been invited to one party in kindergarden. 4 yrs ago. His brother has been invited to 5 this year and he is asking alot of questions. Daniel told me yesterday that the young boy that they both play with who is 7 is having a birthday party and Daniel has a verbal invite but the boy does not want David there. David has a hard time when he starts to play there with giving outside of himself, typical asperger's. He starts playing the video games and gets lost in them. But that is the main reason they enjoy going over there, This family is African, and they are very sweet, but I do not feel right talking to the mom about the issue, But at the same time how are people going to except children with Asperger's unless they are aware of the challenge these children face.
How do I help David with feeling important enough to go to a party, He looks so sad when he is not invited. He tells me" I am a trying to be good and be nice". What should I do???

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I have not spoken to the mom very much, she tends to keep to herself. I will try to make a better effort with her and like the idea of having a coffee mommy break moment with her to share who David is. As for the other idea's after I posted this I was a speech with David and ran into a woman with a son who was 10 and she was starting a playgroup at a therapist office as well as through her church. I think alot of you are right. I have tried neighborhood friends and school, baseball and church and he is not fitting in so I think I will get him into more support "Aspergers playgroups. thanks for all your input. I do not want to force him on someone who has not invited him. He and I had a dairy queen date during his brothers other party that set off this whole can of worms. Thanks for all your help.

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So sad......people just don't think sometimes. How about letting David throw a weenie roast or something this spring? He can invite whomever he wants and he can be the main guy. Maybe if you can do something like that, people will be more open......make it a big event, and invite parents too so that everyone can see what a great kid he is. If he can handle doing this, it might help everyone around. If not, then start with small little outdoor get together......I hope this helps and you tell David to hang in there.....Good Luck.

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Hi M.,

This is not exclusive to special needs kids. I have two daughter's and the oldest (they are three years apart) gets invited everywhere and the youngest rarely gets an invite. My brother even took my oldest to Disney World with his family and said the younger kids weren't going. I found out when my daughter got home, there were two cousins that were younger than her sister that went....It breaks my heart. My youngest is vivacious, fun and rarely misbehaves. She is now 14 and we have talked a lot about people being different and people inviting guests they want to surround themselves with. They will each come into there own circle of friends and that may or may not be soon.

Don't be disheartened. David will be fine. Keep communicating with him and try to seek out some friends that he can enjoy. This is a growth process that may hurt now but will most likely be a major part of his maturity later.

God bless,


2 moms found this helpful

One of my kiddo's best friends is an Aspie (SUCH a great kid!), and it's easy for us, both because we're an adhd household - so we are used to and enjoy quirks,,,and because I'm tolerably familiar with HFA (a good 1/2 the kids in gifted programs are usually Aspies, with a sprinkling of us adhd-types for fun and excitement. It's an ongoing competition to see who exactly is the most stubborn). I've noticed though that OTHER parents tend to be intimidated by him. Perhaps the same can be said of my own kiddo... but I don't really notice... because I love him to bits, so I don't see why anyone else wouldn't as well. (LOL.. okay okay, y'all know what I mean... of COURSE there are days I might wanna do the "kid for sale - cheap" days.... I'm not blind to his faults, but to me they're "normal".)

He's an absolute joy (my son's friend)... but one really has to know that if you make a passing comment about "Sorry the house is a mess" you are likely to get a clinical appraisal as to the *actual* state of your house. It's kind of funny... because the other kid's parents and I frequently end up being "ambassadors" for the other child's "disorder". I think both because it's not "normal" in our house, so we see what other parents are seeing AND because we're not sick to death of explaining our amazing kid's quirks to people with raised eyebrows.

On the party thing... If the school doesn't already have a "the whole class must be invited thing" (and that's NOT a crazy thing to address in an IEP, because it's a school policy that the majority of elementary schools already have in place... the poster wasn't saying other parents have to invite a certain kid because of their IEP, she was saying it can be addressed as a school policy)... you MIGHT consider what we already do:

We pepper the year with "small parties". BBQ's in the summer time, random "Challah French Toast" brunches, a videogame or movie and pizza evening or afternoon (especially around the holidays other parents tend to jump on these to get shopping done), pumpkin carving party, etc. Things that are whole family oriented especially tend to bridge the understanding gap... and the little mini "parties" (which would be considered playdates in most circles) ease some of the wanna-party tension and build a friend base for "actual" parties.



2 moms found this helpful

I would talk to the parents. It is always best to be honest, and maybe once they understand your son's situation they would feel more comfortable with David around. I would also suggest that you offer to stay, so that they don't feel any extra pressure. Plus then you will be around to help direct David as needed. I'm sure the parents could use the extra help too!

2 moms found this helpful

This is something I would talk to the other parents about. If there was a substantial age difference, I could see why he wouldn't be invited but he already plays there a lot and them only inviting one child is wrong as it makes your 9 year old feel very left out.

I recommend finding a group or a couple other moms with children facing the the same situation and getting together with them often. I have a brother with autism and he is in a class with other children who have similar disabilities so it makes it easier on him.

Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

Honestly, If I were you, I would go to the mother and fill her in the situation. Maybe offer to stay at the party with your son to be sure all is well. Just think, ou can help the mother out with the festivities while you are there. My cousin's son has Aspergers and like his mom says, how can people learn to accept these kids unless I help them understand. Help your baby out. He needs it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I feel for you, and for David, we have a similar situation with our son, he does not have Aspergers (that I'm aware) but he is experiencing the same things with birthday parties in our neighborhood. There is one boy his age but he has an older brother who runs with even older boys, when each has a party the little one is invited but ours is not, he says the same things David is. We tell him that these boys are older and that it's better to have friends his own age, he tries to understand.
Here is my advice: If you live in a community that is large enough, you should have special interest groups, such as those with Aspergers or Autism, and you should get David involved in those groups. Although it might be convenient for your kids to run out the door to the neighbors house, you're going to have to put more work into it than that, for his sake. Soon he will have contacts in his own special groups and they will be able to do things together. This can form long lasting relationships for him. I've sought out two different parent/mom groups, one looks ok, the other I think I may drop, I've also gotten in contact with children from his former school (where he went before we put him in a private school that is heavily academic, making it hard to make friends) by contacting his old teacher and having her give a note to the childs parent with our phone number, requesting a playdate.

Next, children with Aspergers should not be exposed to video games for more than a few minutes at a time. As you're aware they can take activities or habits overboard and video games are not a good one.

I also have to ask, and I may have missed something, but what does being African have to do with it exactly?

In summary, it's going to take a little work on your part to help your child find a niche. Best of luck, I hope David finds himself a good friends he can count on.

1 mom found this helpful

This isn't always an issue that just affect kids with special needs - with my two oldest girls, they had two different personalities and one went alot of birthday parties and one didn't. However, I do understand your situation with having my own child on the Autism Spectrum. If you think that your son would benefit from going to the party (some kids on the Autism Spectrum would not - it "sounds" like a good idea to them, but when actually confronted with the party, they tend to fall apart), then I would talk to the mom and mention that you heard that her son was having a party and Daniel was invited. And then mention that your son, David, has some special needs (you don't need to be specific if you don't want to) and would really like to attend as well. Offer to bring the boys over, but mention that you would stay and keep an eye on David so she doesn't have to worry about anything, and maybe offer to give her a hand as well. My guess is that she will be more understanding than you think and that will give you the opportunity to observe David at the actual party to see how he does.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Both my boys have Aspergers, they get invites, but we skip most parties. Our school district has a rule, the whole class gets invited or no one at school can recieve an invite. Kids are not aloud to bring invites just for a few kids. I would bring it up to the school that it is hurting your childs feeling badly that he never gets invited. He cannot help how he is. And it is not fair to him that he see's other kids in class get invites.

You could also talk to the teacher about it. Your child should have an IEP and in that IEP you can request that birthday invites in his classes go to everyone or no one. His mental health is in danger if they cannot enforce this simple thing. ;) The teachers here send letters home to parents explaining that kids feel left out if they don't get invited, so if invites are sent they need to be for everyone.

Our schools have many rules that seem out there, valentines never have "to such and such" names put on them, just from names, every child has the same kind and color of binders. etc. But without these simple things, many kids would be left out.

Sense we do skip most parties we always make sure to plan a fun day for our kids so they don't feel they missed out on something.

1 mom found this helpful

Are you getting services for David? A lot of times, it is hard for a child with Asperger's to relate to other kids (or vice versa), but they do an excellent job relating to other children with Asperger's. Also, it might be worth getting him involved in activities he LOVES, and he's more likely to make friends who share these same interests.

Personally, I don't agree that it should be put into his IEP that he gets invited to all birthday parties. I have a daughter with Asperger's, and I would never want somebody forced to invite her. I think that's highly inappropriate and would build resentment. What would happen later in life? How would the adult cope then? The solution is to do behavior therapy and social skill classes. Get his abilities up! He might see that with the effort, those invites will begin pouring in! This has worked wonders for my daughter. She used to get shunned from playdates, etc. It really motivated her to improve her skills. It's not always easy, and she does relapse at times to what's comfortable for her, but she sees the difference in her efforts with more friends, playdates, and invites!

ETA: I will change my comment to I don't think a parent should be required to invite an entire class to a birthday party in elementary school. For one thing, the kids are beginning to separate by gender. I did invite the whole class to my daughter's party (by choice) and the boys sat on one side of the room, the girls sat on the other side of the room. For another thing, class sizes are huge (and will be getting even bigger). This can limit the type of party or make having a party too cost prohibitive.

If my daughter were to find out about a party she wasn't invited to, I'd have to help her through that issue. It's not pleasant, but nobody gets invited to everything! It's something she (and everyone else) has to learn to cope with.

I do LOVE what another person posted about hosting your own little gatherings, just doing fun things! That's great fun and will definitely help the invites come in too!

Aspies can be great! I love mine to pieces and am beyond proud of her!


1 mom found this helpful

I know exactly what you are going through. My soon to be 8 year old son has Asperger's and his 6 year old sister gets invited to parties and after school playdates all the time. My son cannot understand why he never gets invited.

I have explained to my son that his sister is going to have friends her age that she plays with and they are too young for him. Luckily I also can use the gender difference as a reason not to play with them. For birthday parties we usually try to offer something special for my son to do with one of us while our daughter is at a party so that he has something going on too.

We have not yet done this, but I am going to try to set up some playdates for my son with a couple of boys from school. I asked him first who he would like to invite over and then I spoke to the teacher to make sure she felt that the personalities would be a good fit. I'm going to send an email to the moms and see if we can set something up. I'm not sure yet how to approach his aspergers with them. I wanted to tell them all about it up front, but I didn't want them to feel that they had to make their son come to play. My husband wants me to say nothing in the original invite, see what they say, and then if the playdate goes well and the other parent reciprocates explain the situation just so they will be aware while our son is in their care. I'm still not sure which way I'm going to go on this one but I feel like I have to give my son an opportunity to try to make some friends of his own.

Also, you could look for an Asperger's support group in your area. They usually have playdates and he could meet some children his age with similar issues and VERY understanding parents!

Best of luck, I know how heartbreaking this can be.


1 mom found this helpful

They have Aspberger's in Africa too. Talk to the parents, and if they're not understanding, do you really want to cultivate a relationship with them while ultimately causing friction between your two sons?

I guess, I'd want friends that have families that would be considerate enough to invite both kids, unless there is some reason age matters. I have yet to be invited to birthday parties where only one of my sons has been invited. They share many of the same friends, and many of their friends have siblings close in age to the younger child.

1 mom found this helpful

let him go, talk to that Mom. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

You cannot request that a child get invited to other's birthday parties on an IEP. That is just ridiculous. How do you explain that to the parent? You HAVE to invite my kid to your kid's party because it says so on this IEP??

Parties are a private affair, not a given right. If someone wants to have a party for their kid, there just isn't much you can do about it. I would be horribly offended if someone called me and demanded that I invite their kid to MY kid's party!

Okay, got that out of my system. I'm very familiar with Aspergers and it is heartbreaking. I would recommend that you contact your school counselor and have a chat. As this issue becomes more prevalent, alot of schools are taking the lead in educating students about the challenges these kiddos face.

I would also recommend Boy Scouts for David. Recently, I went to an Eagle Scout ceremony for a boy with Aspergers. It was truly inspiring. Check with your school or church. This will help him with social issues and build friendships with a group of boys that he can trust.

I know your heart aches, and you seem like such a caring and compassionate mom, I'm sure that things will come together for you.

This just breaks my heart reading this. I'm not sure what to say except my understanding is that there is therapy available that teaches kids with Aspergers how to interact with people even if it doesn't come naturally to them. Have you tried this? They teach them how to read non verbal cues and how to participate fully. Also, maybe you could have David invite kids over to your house. Does he have any friends?

As an aside, my brother, now 44 years old, has all the symptoms of Aspergers but was never diagnosed (they didn't have knowledge of "Autism spectrum disorders" back in the 70s - just Autism) and it has caused HUGE, HUGE problems for him. He can't hold a job, he has a drinking problem, he is estranged from the family, and is a very angry person. I would go to any lengths you need to to get therapy for your son now. I'm guessing you are already doing that but the cost of not doing it is so huge. Good luck with everything and I can't imagine the heartbreak of having your child feel excluded. My thoughts are with you.

So sad......people just don't think sometimes. How about letting David throw a weenie roast or something this spring? He can invite whomever he wants and he can be the main guy. Maybe if you can do something like that, people will be more open......make it a big event, and invite parents too so that everyone can see what a great kid he is. If he can handle doing this, it might help everyone around. If not, then start with small little outdoor get together......I hope this helps and you tell David to hang in there.....Good Luck.

I would talk to the mom and let her know the situation. Maybe she can talk to her son, and have him invite David too. Just make sure that you go and help him out a little, and have Daniel include him too. Plus, give Daniel some things to say about David if the other kids ask. He should be sticking up for his brother, even if it is something as simple as, "he is a bit shy and has trouble involving himself. He has Aspergers. If we invite him to play in this game, he will."

I agree 100% with Kirby R.

It heartbreaking when our kids hurt. On that note though it is unfortunately part of life that we have disappointments. Perhaps with your neighbor you can talk to her and see what she says, if its a verbal invite from her son she may not be aware, as for other parties you cant force people to invite your son. If a kid doesn't have a connection with your son you cant force it. Most parents I know send the invites out because our school has list of the names in the class, but if the kids talk about a party it can't be helped. We don't ( as does her classmates) do not invite the whole class. I ask for names and then send out the invites. As for the invites it is not just exclusive to kid's with Aspergers. What I could suggest, is when your younger son gets an invite, how about doing a special outing with your son. Also have you tried to get David involved in other social setting outside of school? My friend has a little boy who is Autistic ( would of been Asperger's except the speech delay) He is involved in soccer and boy scout's. It has helped him a lot. He meets a lot of friends and there are social events in his groups and he gets a lot of invites to parties. Reassure your son that he has done nothing wrong and hang in there. Good luck you you and your son.

I have no idea what to do but my heart goes out to you and your son. I have twin high functioning autistic boys one more than the other and already see stuff like this between them. They just dont get why others dont like them but they know they dont.

Follow up question ... I have an 11 year old with Aspergers. I cannot get him a play date. People give excuses. He is difficult, and immature, but fun, smart, witty, and involved in a few things his peers (regular ed) also enjoy. It's time to plan his twelfth birthday, and once again he is asking a party but cannot name one kid to invite. My child does not cry, tantrum, or hit. He just leaves and goes to his room to read a lot. If I get people here to watch a movie, have pizza, etc., he will behave appropriately as about a nine year old. Ideas??? (Like many of you said, my other two have friends, and he notices)

A couple of thoughts -

I would talk to the mom and ask if there is a reason only one of your sons was invited. IF she brings up Asperger's, then talk about it.

In this case, since both boys play with her son, I would tell her that one invite isn't fair and if they both aren't invited, the one cannot come, but thank her for the invite. This is different than a classmate - this is a neighborhood friend they both play with. Unfortunately, you can't dictate who they invite, but you can decide if you son(s) can go.

We have a friend whose son has Asperger's and he's been in Karate for many years - it has helped him immensely and he loves it! It may be a great program for your son.

The only other suggestion I would have is when one son has a bday party to go to, the other gets to have special time with Mom (or Mom & Dad, or Dad!). That gives them something to look forward to as well.

Good luck and God Bless-

Hi M. - that just breaks my heart. I'm really sorry David is having to deal with that. If it were me and my kids, I would gracefully decline the invitation altogether since they are not both invited but they all play together. I'm sure Daniel will be disappointed but it can also be a learning experience for him to support his brother.

Perhaps both of the boys could still provide a birthday gift in the form of a homemade card that they could deliver before or after the party. The kindness may knock a little sense into your neighbors without you having to be confrontive.

God bless you friend!

David is wonderful as are most children who's special life purpose includes overcoming Asperger's. My neice was diagnosed over 10 years ago, she is now 15 and enjoying mainstream high school.

As a woman and a mother of African decent, I insist that you openly discuss with the mother of the little boy who is having a party. Start by asking her over for coffee or tea while the boys play and tell her what Asperger's is and how it affects David. Be honest with her about David's desire to be included - which is pretty outgoing for an Asperger's child! Invite the little boy with whom yours play to join the conversation, with his mother's permission of course, and inquire of his feelings about David and explore why he feels the way he does; most likely it is because he is unaware and doesn't understand what or why David may exhibit certain types of behavior. We have to help children to be compassionate of one another and that cannot be accomplished unless we make them aware of the feelings of others.

Finally, maybe the five of you, (the boys and the two mom's) can do a separate outing in celebration of the birthday, in fact, maybe celebrate all three boys and their great big hearts.

Warmest Regards,


Oh, your story just breaks my heart! I would say that you should talk to the other family. Do they know that your son has Aspergers? Maybe if they knew more about him and Aspergers they would be more willing to except him. I have learned that a lot of people are just unaware of the issues and therefore just write the kid off as being diffrent or hard to get a long with, without really trying to understand it! Also have you tried to invite some of his friends from school over for play dates? Maybe if they came to your house and had fun with your son they would be more likely to invite him to parties. Good luck and kiss your little man...he sounds like a loving kiddo!!

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