Molly is an 8yo girl that lives in Union County, North Carolina. Join Molly and her friends, as they teach us about their differences and similarities. Each month will have a different disability focus.

One day Molly was talking to her friend Ryan about his birthday party. Ryan had just given her an invitation that said, “Picnic In The Park.” It told her to wear tennis shoes and come ready to eat lunch and play games.

Molly wanted to know who else would be at the party. She knew that Daniel, Ryan’s brother, did not like crowds. Daniel has autism. Molly wondered if he would enjoy the party.

Ryan told Molly how he and his mom planned the party. It is Ryan’s party, but he wanted his brother to have fun. Here are some things Ryan told Molly:

  1. Daniel does not like new places. The park is not new to Daniel. Their family goes there every Saturday to play. Going to the park on Ryan’s birthday will make that Saturday the same as usual.
  2. At the park, you can choose what to do. Some kids will want to swing. Some kids will want to slide. Some kids will want to run. Some kids may play together. Some kids may play alone. Daniel will be able to do what he likes to do. There are no new games or rules.
  3. Sometimes, when it is Daniel’s birthday, he gets upset by the Happy Birthday song. Maybe the song is too loud. Maybe he is not sure why people are singing. Maybe he does not like people staring at him. When it is time to sing the song for Ryan, Daniel can go away from the group. And it will not sound as loud as it does when you sing it inside.
  4. Ryan is going to open gifts, but Daniel does not understand that part. It is hard for him to sit. It is hard for him to know the present is not for him. Daniel will be able to swing while Ryan opens presents.
  5. The week before the party, Ryan’s mom is going to check out books about parties from the library. She will read to Daniel about birthdays. They will talk about what happens at parties, what to say at parties, and what kind of food you have at parties. He will practice saying things like, “Happy Birthday.” He will practice saying hello to guests. Then these things will not be a surprise to Daniel.

Molly was glad to know these things. The party sounded like fun. Ryan would have fun, and Daniel would have fun, and the guests would have fun. It is not hard for Molly to enjoy a party, but like Daniel, Molly thinks the Happy Birthday song is too loud. Molly thinks everyone will be comfortable at this party.