Yesterday we took son 2 to a birthday party. That in itself is a rarity. Son 2 has always hated parties, they are too noisy for him and he can't cope with the change of routine. So since the age of 5 we have just had a low key birthday with cake and candles at home, knowing that his wonderful school have also held a celebration there for his peer group. This is important as son 2 doesn't go to a local school and his classmates come from a wide geographical area.
Anyway, the party yesterday was a swimming party, at a pool son 2 had not visited before. The guests were a mixture of children with a variety of special needs and some young non-disabled siblings. We were really unsure how son 2 would cope, so Hubby and I both went along, Hubby to go in the water with him and me to be on standby watching. But I wasn't needed. Son 2 behaved well, and despite obvious anxiety (he hates the echo of swimming pools) he was persuaded into the water. Although he is a nonswimmer he enjoyed floating around in the shallow end, as he usually does. He even came out of the water immediately when asked, this has not always been the case in the past!
In the party room he sat nicely at the table and ate pizza, albeit with his MP3 player in his ears to block out the sound of chatter. When he had finished eating he announced, in his own nonverbal way, that it was time to go home. But by then the party was winding up anyway and we were able to head for home, feeling proud of our son's success in coping with a new situation. In an environment where he was accepted for exactly what he is, he produced behaviour which would not have been too out of place at a mainstream party.
While we are on the subject of bithdays, Casdok's son has just celebrated his 21st. Please take the time to read her beautiful post reflecting on his coming of age.