Planning A Party For A SEND Child

Posted: Monday June 29 2020

By: Sophie Dimond

March 2020 was the first year we made the decision not to sing happy birthday to our eldest Son Jacob. He had been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in December 2019, and though we did already had an understanding of what was coming we now finally had a diagnosis.

Planning A Party For A SEND Child

We don’t sing happy birthday to our son.

So I’m guessing you have read the title and thought, ‘What?! Why on earth would they not?’

Ever since Jacob was very small he couldn’t stand loud singing, going to music groups, the hustle and bustle of noise was all too much, I guess you could say this was the first flag for autism that we noticed. he would be so upset and inconsolable, looking back now I can see why. The sensory overload and aversion to noise, but at the time I just thought he might like it next time or as he gets a little older, I do look back now and wish I have not tried to persevere with certain toddler groups, but at the time you feel you need to be joining in with these kinds of activities because everyone else is too. When he started school and group singing became of a way of learning things started to become more apparent, this was not something he was just going to grow out of or learn to conform to and of course with the diagnosis all the questions of why fell into place.

So came birthdays, of course, each year we would present the cake and everyone would sing happy birthday, Jacob would be hysterical and upset and what was meant to be a celebration and the happy moment was everything but! So this for his 5th birthday we all agreed not to sing happy birthday, he even mentioned it himself that he did not want ‘the singing’ and we told him that nobody would.

Of course, we then had to tell all of the parents and family attending his party that this was what we were doing, everyone was very understanding and I think if you explain a situation everyone will try to understand and respect your wishes. Out came the cake with the candles lit, and all the children so kindly knew not to sing for Jacob sat and waiting for him to blow out his candles, he blew them out was beaming with happiness and it was such a pleasure to watch him be able to enjoy that moment for the first time.

What I’m trying to say is, we don’t have to always do what’s ‘normal’. What you do should always be what is best for your children, family and you.

Can we define ‘normal’ we are each beautiful and unique? Maybe one day he will want us to sing happy birthday to him, but for now, we will let him enjoy his moment in the way that makes him happy.

Are you a mum or dad looking for support from more parents in the SEND community, or maybe a friend or grandparent. If so why not click here to join our fabulous SEND community run by Sophie Dimond over on MMB Magazines community page and follow Sophie over on @sophieoliviad

Special education with SEND Sophie Dimond and MMB Magazine

# Planning A Party For A SEND Child