Autism: SCHOOL REFUSED MY SON’S BIRTHDAY PARTY AT SCHOOL

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Jessica:  My son has ED and autism disabilities. He is in third grade (regular school). We are close to moving him to another school with services he needs and waiting for his tests done. Now is February, we can move him to another school probably for next school year. I scheduled his Birthday Party with his teacher, she was ok with that. But the last day she refused my son’s Birthday Party because has been told by a resource specialist. I ask what is the reason since my son is not suspended and she told he is not listening teacher, so he didn’t earn it. I sent her an email and asked to provide information with school rules when a school can refuse child’s Birthday Party at school. What is my next step? What else can I do?

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Jackson

Maybe you can help me? My child has autism and another child was having a birthday at school with pizza and cupcakes. Birthday child does not like my child. Parents bought pizza and cake to school and gave all the other kids in the class two slices and none for my child. My child also did not get a cupcake. Tried talking to birthday boy’s parents and they said their child did not like my child. I tried talking to teacher and principal but they both said parents paid for the pizza and cupcakes and its their child’s decision who gets to enjoy them. What should I do now?

Morning

I am looking a a deeper issue here beyond a classroom birthday party. You addressed a parent and received not only an answer but also a “statement”. Personally, I would keep the focus between the school and you–don’t involve the other parent in this or the other student. This pertains to school policies and procedures on birthday parties, invitations, etc. Some schools have stopped such parties or tell parents that they must bring enough food for ALL kids. I suspect there are some ongoing issues. Talk to the school psychologists on the events. How is your child socialized with peers, any issues in the classroom and with peers, what is the the culture in the classroom. The responses from the principal and teachers are revealing. The school psychologist may be able to assist you.

Jackson

There are no issues besides this in the classroom. He has friends and the teacher made him feel welcome. He had friends at school and I know some kids won’t like him. The policy is enough food for everyone but I have a feeling they said this to either shut me up or to stay out of this.

Marcus

Excellent advice Morning as always. I also wanted to mention that Jackson should look out for signs that this other child maybe bullying his son. They may not be friends and that is okay but Jackson should ask the teacher to look out for bullying signs.

Norman

Jackson I know how you feel. My son has been excluded so many times its not even funny. Its really sad. In fact my son was excluded from his own birthday at school! I sent cupcakes in and he did not get one! The child who bullies my son got two one of which was my son’s. I was so outraged and the teacher told me that my son deserved to be punished for trying to get the other child into trouble. My son has been excluded from other birthday celebrations at school by being sent to the closet to do work while the others kids have fun. He has also been excluded from parties outside of school. I am so sad for him and don’t know what else to do to help.

Marcus

Norman,
I feel your pain. Its hard to see you son be excluded. As far as the school goes I would write a letter requesting for a meeting to get to the bottom of what happened. I would also let them know that him being placed in a closet is not to happen again. As far as the birthday’s outside of school you will not have much recourse with that. You cannot dictate that a parent invites you child over to their home. To build up his confidence get him involved in extra curricular’s outside of school such as sports, art club, book club, scouts etc. This will keep him interacting with non-disabled peers.

Gigi

Sometimes the simple answer is no. You want your children treated like everyone else then allow them to experience disappointment and the consequences of not following directions. However, Wrightsaw is not about common sense, disabilities, or responsible “advice.” If you want advice about perceived discrimination and relevancy then contact the ACLU.

Jackie

Oh boy. Taking away the child’s birthday is like taking away recess from a kid who needs to run out their energy – – counterproductive and punitive with NO positive results. Kids with Autism see black and white. If he was told he was having a party then he should have a party. If this already happened, that’s very unfortunate. If it hasn’t happened yet, I would also go to the building principal and the director of special ed. Does your child have a behavior plan? Surely it doesn’t include penalizing him in that manner. Just ridiculous and sad. Sorry. Wish I had something like a legal magic wand to fix it for him.

Chuck

Ask the principal for a copy of the policy on this type of activity. If they followed the policy, there may not be much you can do. If they did not follow policy, or they do not have a policy, the principal could correct this situation. There should be a procedure for appealing decisions above the principal.