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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty

Birthday Parties for Special Needs Kids

In recently celebrating Addy’s 8th birthday, I thought it would be ideal to discuss my tips on throwing a birthday party for your special needs child. Yes, I know this sounds daunting and maybe even a bit scary, but it can be super successful; you just need to think through a couple of steps.


Selecting a Location

This is probably the hardest part…where to go that will accommodate everyone! Pick a place that is familiar to your child. We have done parties where she takes music lessons as well as where she practices special needs yoga. Since she loves dolls, this year we held her party at the American Girl Café, and it was out of this world! I called ahead to ensure they were aware of her being special needs and they went above and beyond in ensuring the party was a success! Having familiar surroundings or in an environment they love/adore not only helps your child, but you as well.


Timing of the Party

With a special needs child, timing and planning out the event is key. I tend to do the party from either 10-12 or 11-1 with the following structures:

· 10:00-12:00

· 10:00-11:15 Activity (allow 15mins for arrivals/settling in)

· 11:15-12:00 Food & Cake

· 11:00-1:00

· 11:00-12:00 Food & Cake (allow 10mins for arrivals/settling in)

· 12:00-1:00 Activity


Inviting Guests

I like to invite a mix of guests. I include all her classmates (this year we did just girls) as well as some of her good friends/supporters we have met throughout her life. We include both neurotypical and special needs children. I like the mix as I believe inclusion helps everyone. I also have plenty of parents to help and sometimes even a therapist or two. Additional hands can go a long way!


Celebrate

I know this may sound strange but celebrate the small victories at the party. Don’t compare your child to others, don’t worry about the small stuff. Celebrate where they are today and the progress they have made in a year! Remember, you only get one birthday a year so enjoy it!


Much love,

Raising Addy

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