It's hard enough to navigate this world as it is, but it is even harder when people treat you differently.
For 10-year-old David, he was left off his classmate's birthday party invite because he has autism. The remaining students in the class were all given an invitation to the event.
The birthday boy's mother recently shared the situation on Reddit's Am I the A**hole (AITA) subreddit, asking if she's in the wrong. She justifies her actions by revealing that "there have been incidents with David before."
"My [son's] 10th birthday is next Saturday and me and my husband have been [planning] a party for him. To make sure we gave everyone enough time we got invitations ready 2 weeks in advance and I had my son pass them out Friday. We invited every one in his class (he goes to a small private school so there were only 15 kids to invite). Except for one child we'll call David," the mom wrote on Reddit.
She continued, "David is a high functioning autistic child who was put in my sons class to help him socialize and to help the other kids learn to not discriminate against special needs people. From what I know about him and his mother they are just doing their best, and I have nothing against either of them."
The mom clearly does not see the irony in what wrote about the kids in her son's class being encouraged not to discriminate while she does it to David.
She then shared a story about a "meltdown" David had at another party to backup her decision to not invite him.
"Last year through friends I had heard that David had a meltdown at another party he was invited to. I don't know if I believe it but parents who were there say that it was because he wanted to open presents like the birthday boy and when told no freaked out. There are other logistical problems as well (The party will be in a loud arcade) so in the end I decided to not invite David."
She continued, "Well, after my son passed the invitations word spread around that we had excluded the special needs child in his class. This got back to [David's] mother who called me last night and confronted me about this. She told me that I am awful for excluding her son and that I'm teaching my son to discriminate. When I brought up the logistics and the past incident she told me that I'm an a**hole for assuming what her son can and can't do before hanging up. I woke up this morning to a passive aggressive post by her and many other parents are siding with her."
Seems like many others on Reddit also sided with David's mom. Some imparted some really good advice on how the birthday boy's mother could've handled the situation differently. One user explained that inviting David could've been a good opportunity to teach her son about inclusion and acceptance.
"Look, I understand your concern about the meltdown. But you could have spoken to his parents beforehand about the environment and potential ways to mitigate that; you could have spoken to your son's teacher to see if s/he has advice for how David is in group situations," commented one user. "You don't even know how his behavior may have improved over the past year specifically because of being included socially. This would have been a good chance to teach your son to include people, and instead you taught him it's okay to exclude someone if their disability makes your fun time slightly more difficult."
Some parents on the subreddit have been in similar situations where their child was left out of a party, so they shared their point of view.
One wrote: "This happened to my son A LOT when he was younger. It's hurtful to deliberately exclude with no warning. For anything my son was invited to I would either go and stay with him, leaving early if needs be, or if I checked out the venue in advance and thought it wouldn't be practical I would decline the invite but say thank you. Excluding on the basis of a disability isn't something to teach your child. You could have discussed it with his teachers first if nothing else."
While most people agreed that what the birthday boy's mom did is wrong, a few people came to her defense.
"I hate that OP is going to get destroyed by this. This is the exact reasoning why I never had any Birthday parties throughout school cause I never wanted to have to go through the who can/can't come scenario and I was also friends with different people who might not get along when put together at a public event," wrote one user.
Another Reddit user explained that they were "a weird kid at school and "almost never got invited to my peers’ parties." They admitted that it hurt to be excluded, but it doesn't entitle David's mom to force the birthday boy's parents to include her son to protect his feelings.
They added: "For one, it would have made my social isolation at school even worse than it was. Second, it taught me a valuable life lesson: you are not entitled to things or experiences just because you want them. Third, it also taught me that my feelings are not the responsibility of other people, especially on their day."
What do you think about this situation? What would you have done? Let us know in the comments!