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birthday ideas?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wondering if anyone has any suggestions, or BTDT or "I wish I had..." stories? My son will be 3 next month. He has mild, high-functioning ASD. He's never loved crowds, especially indoors. He doesn't tend to do well when peers come to our house because he feels like they're taking his toys. A couple of months ago he went to Chuck E Cheese with daycare and, to my great surprise and delight, LOVED it. So I thought about doing a small party for him there. But the day they went it was empty, and the party needs to be on a weekend, so there'd be crowds. Last year we had one adult friend come over and join us for cake, and he'd probably be perfectly happy to do that again. But he's been to a number of birthday parties recently and I'd like to find a way we can reciprocate, and gently begin to make birthday customs comfortable for him. If his birthday was in the summer, I'd bring cake to a playground and invite a bunch of friends, and I think he'd do great, but he's a winter baby.


Thanks for your thoughts!

post #2 of 11

Happy 3rd birthday to your son! I see your post was missed. I thought I'd bump it up to give it some attention and see if anyone has a suggestion to share. bump.gif

post #3 of 11
I am struggling with nearly the same issue! Complicated by money & space constraints. Is there anywhere nice to play/hike near your home? You could do a winter hike or sledding/snow play and then invite everyone inside briefly for cake & hot cocoa.

I'm not sure what else to suggest because I'm really not sure what to do myself. If you can afford to rent a room (just an empty space at a VFW hall or something) that might work, you could just bring a few toys or activities for the kids to do.
post #4 of 11
My oldest had her 4th party at cc. I planned it for first thing Sunday morning. Completely empty.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone! It's funny - yesterday (Sun) we decided to go on a scouting mission to chuck e cheese and, just like PP said, it was nearly empty. So, even though cost is also a huge factor here, I think we're going to try it, mainly because I haven't come up with other options. (Love the winter hike/play idea, but we're in the mid-Atlantic, so we seldom get real snow, just cold/wet weather). For a small group, CC is so much cheaper than the other indoor kid-party places. I'll let you know how it goes :)

post #6 of 11
To keep cost low I didn't do the official cc party. I bought several pizzas and drinks with a coupon and brought in my own cake. I just divided up the tokens that came with the deal, maybe bought some extra. Overall very cheap. Kids get enough tickets that I didn't do goodies bags.

Balloons from the dollar store are great party favors that serve as decorations, too.
Edited by chel - 1/7/13 at 5:47pm
post #7 of 11
You could celebrate the half birthday in the summer, instead. We did that one year.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

What great ideas! I will definitely bring our own cake. And I love the half birthday idea!

post #9 of 11

I understand wanting to reciprocate from other invitations, but I recommend keeping it extremely small -- to a size he can enjoy. For my DD, that would have been only 2 or 3 peers.


I screwed this up a few times before I learned my lesson -- putting my child in a situation that will end with sensory overload / autism meltdown isn't a reasonable way to celebrate her birthday. Her birthdays are no long about what would feel good to other people -- they are for her. This year she went to a movie with one friend and had a GREAT time.


Some people don't like birthday parties. Making them attend then, especially as the center of attention, doesn't change that. It just makes them unhappy. 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

This is a really good point. That's why last year we celebrated with just one adult friend, and I really thought we were headed the same direction this year, until he had such a good time at CC with daycare. I think (I hope) that for him it will feel like a similar outing - he and a few peers run around the toddler area, then have pizza and cake and go home. Sort of a birthday party without being so much of a birthday party, if you kwim.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

UPDATE: We had the Chuck E Cheese party this morning and it went really well! I requested ahead of time not to have the show with the character since I knew that wouldn't go over well. Seven friends came, everyone played, we had pizza and cake (homemade), and then played some more. It was just his speed and he had a great time. It seemed everyone else did too. I also think one of the reasons he was able to stay regulated so well was that because I knew there wasn't much I had to take care of, I wasn't stressed out as I would have been in some other party situations, so we were both able to just relax and have fun. And he even progressed from either sitting on the rides while they were still or standing outside of them and watching them move, to riding on them while they were moving!


Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions and support.

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