In some posts on Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" you can see exactly where someone's reasoning took a turn. You can watch people who think they have good intentions try to justify their bad behavior and almost get away with it, too. Sometimes, it becomes clear almost immediately that those who think they're doing someone else a "favor" are actually just trying to make their lives easier. This is one of those posts.
A parent took to Reddit with a question that, in my opinion, already gives them away as being "a-holes." "AITA for inviting my son's entire class except for one child because of his autism?" they write. I want to say, "Yes! You are!" and move on, but I guess we should hear them out first, right?
Mom writes that her son is turning 10 next weekend and she and her husband have planned a party for him. They had their son pass out invitations in class ("he goes to a small private school so there were only 15 kids to invite") to everyone except one kid, who they call "David."
She explains that her son does to a school with a program where special needs children are integrated into mainstream classes once a week. According to her, "David is a high-functioning autistic child who was put in my son's class to help him socialize and to help the other kids learn not to discriminate against special needs people." Then, she proceeds to explain how she discriminated against David by not inviting him — and only him — to her son's birthday party specifically because of his autism.
You see, apparently, there have been "incidents" with David before. She heard through the grapevine that David had a meltdown at another birthday party because he wanted to open presents like the birthday boy did. She claims there are also "logistical problems" like the fact that the party will be in a "loud arcade." So they just went ahead and decided to exclude the one child with autism in their son's class from the party.
Of course, after her son passed out invitations to everyone in class except David, word got out, and David's mom called them. She writes, "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."
When she woke up the next morning, she had more messages from more parents telling her she was wrong. "I just want my son to have a good party and didn't mean anything by this," she writes. There it is. She's using the "I thought I was doing the right thing" defense when it's clear she just wanted to avoid having a kid with autism at her son's birthday party.
Luckily, most commenters realized how wrong she was. "This happened to my son A LOT when he was younger," one person wrote. "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 need 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 with his teachers first if nothing else."
Yes! Instead of doing the lazy, discriminatory thing of not even dealing with it, maybe think for one second how you would feel if your kid was the only one not invited to something. These parents could have taken so many steps to take David into consideration.
If they really didn't want him at the party, they could have spoken to the teachers about their intention and let them handle the discussion with David's mom. They could have called David's parents themselves and talked with her about David's limitations and whether or not he would like to attend. Or, they could have treated him as a member of the class, which he is, and just given him an invitation to the party.
David's parents know better than anyone else what kind of situations he can be comfortable and thrive in, and even if David had a meltdown at their son's birthday party...so what? The kid is 10. These things happen even with children who don't have autism.
One commenter wrote that there is a kid with high-functioning autism in their daughter's class. "When she had her first 'friends' birthday party, she invited him. His parents were really emotional when they RSVP'd... 'He doesn't really get invited to stuff...ever.' He came with his mom, there were a couple glitches, but everyone had fun. He's been a fixture ever since and now invites both her and her little sister to his birthday parties too. He's a cool kid and we've all been lucky to include him and be included by him."
It's amazing that the mom who wrote this post acknowledged that David is in his son's class to teach him not to discriminate, and then did exactly that anyway. It's so much more important to include kids with autism and other disabilities than it is to try to ensure that no kid gets upset at your kid's birthday party. I hope they change their mind and give David the chance to attend.