For most families, birthday parties are a no-brainer. You get a cake, buy decorations, invite all of your family & friends and celebrate the big day. As the mother of a special needs child, birthdays are a slightly different reality. Why? Because that inherent excitement about birthdays most children seem to be born with often escapes the grasp of a special needs kiddo.
For example, my son who is ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) does not like loud noises. When a big group of people get together to sing “Happy Birthday,” it would upset him because it was too loud. Many autistic kids are also only comfortable in routine situations. Since birthday parties are spontaneous types of events, they are hard to prepare for even if you go over all of the different expectations and aspects. (Obviously some non-special needs kids also have these types of reactions to birthday parties too.) It can be an overwhelming event, even if you only have a few family members around.
This is why I think the My Singing Birthday Cake from Ohio Art Company is such a cool toy. It’s ideal for a mildly autistic child because you can prepare for the party through pretend play. You can explain how the candles work, how the cake will be cut and shared. You can also practice the singing with the actual birthday song. I know it might seem silly to “practice” a birthday party, but this would have been a great tool for us to use when my son was smaller. I think it would’ve made him much more comfortable at the real thing.
You can find this cake at Amazon for $50! It was also mentioned on Droolicious.