4 mins read

A Birthday and Autism

My son just turned fourteen.

Now, he’s a fourteen-year-old boy—which means he’s into his devices.

He’s not very athletic, however he swims three times a week on a VIP swim team.

He has played soccer, but I think his interest is waning.

He also plays baseball and that he loves. He’s getting better every year.

Even though he’s becoming a gamer, he doesn’t spend hours and hours in front of a device. Either his mother or father will interpret that situation (we know that he needs to move his body from time to time), or he’ll do it himself.

He is becoming the kind of person who needs to take regulation breaks. He used to jump on a trampoline, but these days he goes outside and rides his Razor scooter.

My point is I think he does understand when his body needs a break. And, he will often (as he gets older) take breaks all on his own.

At school, he will go out with the kids and play some game on the grounds.

More typically, when I show up I’ll find him playing the Wii.

But, he is developing a balance. Which I’m happy about.

I believe in balance. I guess I set an example because I work out, but I also sit in front of a computer and do work. I like to visit places and especially take vacations.

My son seems to be getting something from this and other examples.

Now, this weekend was his birthday and I decided to break up the celebrations.

On Saturday, my son invited a bunch of friends to a gaming place in Pasadena. This place has “classic” video games and pinball machines, and also a Wii gaming setup.

My idea was to get my son together with kids and just let them play games.

And, I had found the perfect place.

Then, birthday party number two, was the more formal one at our home with friends and family.

What was the gaming party like?

My son invited eleven kids. Seven of them are on the autism spectrum.

Turned out, the four typical kids couldn’t make it on Saturday. Two of them were sick, and the other two had another function to attend.

Three of those four ended up coming to our house on Sunday.

So, I was hosting seven kids of various ages, all of them on the autism spectrum.

The age ranges were from fourteen to nineteen. Two of the kids are from my son’s Teen Club. Two of them he knows from soccer teams. Two of them from swimming. And, one kid he has known since age three. They were put together in a social skills group of (at that time) three-year-olds.

I loved the mix of kids. All on the spectrum was just fine with me. And, what a great mix of kids.

The oldest kid was helping me get some of the kids organized on the Wii. Two of them didn’t want to play on the Wii, but went around playing other games.

I met one new dad, but the rest of the parents I knew quite well.

It was simply comfortable and familiar and makes perfect sense for my life and my son’s life.

And, he had a great time.

When our two hours were up, most of the families left. (Most of the kids were overstimulated.)

One eighteen-year-old kid was having trouble getting in touch with his ride (his dad). I stayed to make sure that he connected with him.

The other older kid had been dropped off and picked up by an Uber service that caters to special needs kids (called Hop, Skip, and Jump).

It all worked out so well, and it amazes me how well our kids can function in typical places and during typical events (birthdays).

A grand time was had by all.

An autism birthday. Or, a birthday and autism. However you want to look at it. It was all good.


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