A Sydney dad has opened up about the heartbreak of visiting a local beach with his seven-year-old son to find the boy’s classmates were there for a birthday party that he was the only child not invited to.
The father-of-four, originally from New Zealand, shared the account on a Kiwi dad’s Facebook page, saying his son, who has autism, was so embarrassed to see not just his classmates but his entire grade, already gathered at the Cronulla beach.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said in his lengthy online letter his eldest child was on the autism spectrum, has been diagnosed with ADHD and suffers from severe social anxiety and dyslexia.
In the post, the dad described his boy as “a beautiful soul” and “affectionate” but shy and socially awkward around people he doesn't know.
In order to give his son the best chance at a life that didn’t ostracise him from other children, the father said he worked two full-time jobs for years to pay for therapists and autism experts, to avoid his son having to go to a “special needs” school.
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"With our love and encouragement, instead of medication and treatments, our boy has improved dramatically over the few years, becoming a footy player, a soloist in the school choir,” he said.
The father said he was proud of his son’s art, sport and musical achievements, but he was devastated to see his boy lower his head when he realised he had been excluded from the celebration at the weekend.
"When my boy walked into the park with his Mum to wait for us to arrive, he saw not only every kid in his actual class, but every kid in his whole grade was there, celebrating the birthday of a popular kid in my boy's class.
“Everyone had been invited except my son," he wrote on Sunday.
"To make it worse, some of the parents saw my boy and our family nearby and they tried to avoid eye contact and looked away in awkward shame."
The enraged man said he wanted to publicly shame the group, but instead took his little boy aside and told him: "F*** 'em. We got you and you got us. That's all you'll ever need’.”
"But I know I walked away knowing that I didn't solve anything, my boy is more embarrassed and self-doubting now than ever, other kids and parents are treating my kid like a leper."
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