EVERY December Hannah Brinkworth’s autistic son Harry asks if he can have a birthday party – and every year, it breaks the mum’s heart.
The 31-year-old, from Sheffield, explained how people have previously not turned up to her 10-year-old son’s parties – and it looked like history was repeating itself this year too.
Hannah put a call-out on social media for people to send her son Harry a birthday cardCredit: SWNS
The 10-year-old has received hundreds of cards ahead of his birthday later this monthCredit: SWNS
She said: “Harry is autistic, and we’ve known for a long time, and he’s not a bad kid in any way.
“He always wants birthday parties, but historically, every year we try to sort one and nobody comes.”
Ahead of his birthday in two weeks’ time, Hannah asked Harry who he would like to invite to his bowling alley celebration.
She continued: “He said two names, but when I asked again he said they weren’t allowed to come.
“I said I didn’t understand, and he turned around and, at 10-years-old, said one had told him their mum doesn’t like him and they can’t play with him.”
Understandably, Hannah was absolutely devastated to learn Harry’s mates had been effectively banned from attending his party.
She explained: “I found it absolutely baffling. It’s not the kids’ issue, it’s the parents’ lack of understanding about Harry’s issues.
“It’s not discussed enough how parents talk about kids with additional needs or SEN issues, and they don’t understand the impact of what they say in front of their kids, which is then repeated – it’s unacceptable.”
After her initial heartbreak, Hannah decided that she needed to do something extra special for Harry’s 11th birthday.
The mum said: “I obviously got upset and went on Instagram as you do, and thought it would be nice to see if people would send some cards out to him so he doesn’t feel as lonely on his birthday as he always does.”
The mum says the incident has actually brought out the best in peopleCredit: SWNS
So far, the little boy has received hundreds of cards from all over the world from people who sympathised with the lad and the family has been “blown away” by the response.
Hannah said: “Something so bad has happened but it brings out the best in people, and that’s taken me by surprise.
“It’s been shared by so many people, and I’ve had people from Dubai get in touch to see if they can send cards over.
“Honestly, I’ve had hundreds of people message me wanting to send cards out – it’s blown us away.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an incurable, lifelong developmental condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
It affects around one in 100 people in the UK and is three to four times more common in boys than in girls.
Many people with ASD find it hard to understand other people’s feelings and emotions, and they may have difficulty holding conversations.
When they are young, their language development may take longer and they can struggle to use facial expressions, using gestures to communicate instead.
They may also find it hard to connect with other people and to hold eye contact with unfamiliar individuals.
Many children with ASD like to follow a routine, and changes to this can cause distress.
High functioning autism is an informal term some people use to describe those on the autism spectrum disorder.
“The amount of people who have kids with autism or ADHD who have said similar things, it shows that it’s not kids who are the issues, it’s the grown-ups.”
Although kind strangers have offered to send presents, Hannah says Harry doesn’t need anything more than a nice card and she wants to use his birthday to raise awareness.
She added: “We’re not doing it for any kind of pity party, and we don’t want people to buy or send expensive things.
“It’s just a case of making people aware of it, and making a little boy’s day.”
To send Harry a card, please address it to Harry Brinkworth, Gorilla Garms, Unit 7, Vicar Lane, Chesterfield S40 1PY.
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