For years, mum Tricia Rhynold politely turned down party invitations for her little boy, 7-year-old Timothy, who has severe autism.
The reasoning behind it, she said, was that she didn’t want his behaviour – which often included “meltdowns” – to take away from the birthday boy or girl who’s party he was at.
“When he gets anxious, he focuses on doors–repeatedly opens and closes them…for hours,” Tricia told ABC News. “It’s tough because he really does crave social interaction and being included. He also has many food aversions and difficulty with sensory input. I would hate for Timothy to have these difficulties and take the spotlight from the birthday child.”
So she kept turning down party invites sent to the whole class, until this one.
Attached to this invite, was a note. In it, the mum of the party boy explained how her son Carter sat next to Timothy in class, and always talked about him when he came home.
She shared how she had hired a bouncy castle, and that there would be water balloons and water guns at the party, and then suggested, “Maybe Timothy can come earlier in the day if it would be too much with the whole class.”
And she ended with these simple words:
“Let me know so we can make it work.”
The power behind these words had a big impact on Tricia, who wrote about it on her blog, The Book of Timothy, last summer when this first happened. The story has recently been picked up again and has since gone global.
“This Mum wrote exactly what I needed to see that day and didn’t even know it.
“This Mum gives me hope for Timothy’s future when sometimes I get stuck in the darkness of his diagnosis.
“This Mum is everything I strive to be.
“This Mum rocks.
“This Mum (me) will be RSVPing a HELL YES for the first time ever. And I can’t wait.
At the time, Tricia admitted she didn’t know the mum of Carter. “I don’t know this Mom or even this child personally. I want to. Desperately,” she wrote on her blog.
Since then, the pair have become close friends.
“Carter had always talked about him, so I didn’t think twice when he wanted him at the party,” Carter’s mum told ABC News.
“The only question was, ‘How could we make it work so that Timothy could come and have a great time just like anyone else?’ He came early. He went right into the bouncy castle with Carter and they had a great time.
“I never thought that the words ‘Let’s make it work’ would impact my life forever. These few words allowed Tricia and I to develop an amazing friendship.”
But the last word has to go to Tricia.
“I want only one thing for our kids – for all kids really, and that is inclusion. All they want is to feel included and accepted for who and what they are – that different is OK. It’s just different.”