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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Southern Tasmania

    Default Birthday ideas for child with mild autism

    Hi there,

    My son's 3rd birthday is in 2 months and I'm really struggling to think of something special that he will enjoy. He has just been through a diagnosis process for autism. We haven't gotten a formal diagnosis yet but the psychologist said he would be on the spectrum. He is high functioning but would be very stressed with certain loud unfamiliar places or any sort of structured party game, eg. pass the parcel. I thought I would have it at home and invite some kids he knows around but without party games I'm just not sure what to do. I don't mind spending a bit on him, he's had a tough year with other medical things as well. I thought I might get a jumping castle, he'd love that but I can't rely on the weather being good here in Tassy in October and I'm not sure if we have enough flat land anyway. My other idea was if I could find some indoor play stuff for hire like ball pits etc. but I haven't been able to find anything. The last thing I wondered was if any of the playcentres hired out their facilities for not too much, maybe up to $200, he might like that if it was just our little group, but I haven't been able to find one.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 postsAmethyst Star - 5,000 posts
    Relax. He's 3 and all the stuff you just suggested is probably a bit much for a lot of 3yo's. They will not have the patience/understanding for pass the parcel (even at my ds's 5th birthday most of the kids struggled and we played it with a prize in each layer so no child was 'the winner' as that's something for age 7+). Jumping castles require physical skill and the interest in jumping with lots of other kids and again at 3 that's a lot to ask for many kids - my ds only happily went on jumping castles at 4.5/5 years old (he is shy, but doesn't have autism).

    Playcentres run parties where you can hire a party room, but usually they don't have full walls and the kids all play with lots of other kids in the centre. Some of them will let you hire the whole place, but only for evening functions and for more than $200.

    Just relax. Invite kids that he knows well (and not too many of them - 2 would be fine really) and let them all play at his place with toys that you already have. You could set up crayons & paper for drawing, playdough for fun making, duplo for building ... all that sort of stuff. 3yo's are still pretty little and they are quite happy to do simple stuff. You'll have the parents staying though so don't forget to factor that in.

    Bear in mind your ds might feel a little overwhelmed having lots of children in 'his house' playing with 'his toys', so that's why I suggest keeping numbers to a minimum. It's pretty normal 3yo behaviour to struggle with this, but with autism it could be more pronounced. That's why 'general' type things like playdough & drawing might cause less stress.

    And mostly keep it short - 1 - 1.5 hours max. It might not sound like long, but it is! And feel free to kick people out when it's done.

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 posts
    My son has autism - PDD-NOS.

    For his 3rd birthday we took him on Puffing Billy (old steam train ride) as he is obsessed with trains. He loved it. We also take him on motorised mini-trains that run from a park. Not sure if they have anything similar to that where you live? We didn't bother with friends or family relatives etc as he doesn't really get it. He still doesn't even understand what birthdays are or how old he is (he is now 4yrs 7 months).

    Is there something he is fanatic about? A toy or movie? Maybe do something along those lines and don't stress too much about friends or family unless you think he would like it? A lot of the time we do the whole family etc for us more than the kids.

    Good luck!


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