Birthday parties are a staple in every child’s life, and parents especially know the level of preparation that comes with it. Invitations are sent out to guests days prior to the event. The food to be served is meticulously prepared and the party place is filled with decorations.
Having ticked everything off the checklist, the whole thing is expected to go as smoothly as planned. But what if you’ve done all this and still, no one showed up to your kid’s birthday party? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Kim and her daughter Amy, who has autism.
After that incident, Kim vowed never to put Amy through that sadness and embarrassment ever again, that’s why she decided she would no longer set up birthday parties for her.
A few years later when Amy’s 13th birthday came, Kim called Elizabeth Scott of Savage’s Bakery to order a cake, specifically requesting it to be filled with lots of flowers since Amy is “obsessed” with them. The two women chatted during the call, and Elizabeth discovered that Amy never got to experience a birthday party.
After their conversation, Elizabeth noted Kim’s order, but couldn’t take her mind off the fact that Amy will celebrate her 13th year without a birthday party. As a mother herself, she knew she had to do something to make Amy feel happy and loved on her special day.
“This spoke to my heart. I told her we would invite a bunch of folks and make it extra special,” Elizabeth told AL.com. Aside from baking and decorating Amy’s cake, Elizabeth took extra steps to make sure that Amy will have her well-deserved birthday party. She posted an invitation to Amy’s birthday party on the bakery’s Facebook page.
She also contacted KultureCity, an organization dedicated to making public places become more sensory-friendly for people with autism, in the hopes that they will assist her with her plans of throwing Amy’s birthday party.
Dr. Julian Maha, founder of KultureCity, can relate all too well to Amy’s story, as he himself has an 11-year old son with non-verbal autism. He said, “No one ever invites you to their birthday party and no one ever attends a birthday party for you.”
To make sure Amy has a place to relax during her birthday, Julian brought a brand new sensory activation vehicle to the bakery’s parking lot, filled with comfortable bean bag chairs, water and lighting features, textile paneling with different textures, and other features known to help children with autism calm down.’
“The other kids joined her in it, which relieved her anxiety, and then she went in after that and had a really good time at the party,” Julian said.
Amy was so happy to see that tons of kids and parents have come to her birthday party. She even took a special liking to one of her presents – a colorful stuffed chicken that clucked. Elizabeth told AL.com, “We made it a special day for her. Amy was all smiles, all day long.”
Kim could not believe that Amy was finally having her own birthday party, much more so because it was a total stranger who made it all possible. Julian, on the other hand, was glad to have been part of Amy’s birthday celebration.
Educating other people about autism has been Julian’s life’s mission and the primary reason why he established KultureCity. “People like Elizabeth, for me, are the reason why we do what we do, because if we can convert someone like Elizabeth who really has no personal connection to disabilities and take that message of inclusion and acceptance to the next level, we’ve done our job.”
Watch the video below to watch as Amy participated in her first ever birthday party. It will surely make you smile!