Yesterday was the twin's 'big inclusive birthday party'. I think I can say that overall it went well. Audrey had a great time. Ashlea mostly had a great time.
Aunty Carolin was on 'inclusion duty' for this party (usually she gets food and musical chairs), so it was her job to help Ashlea participate in as many party activities as possible.
The party started (as most do) with ripping open presents as guests arrived. Both girls loved this bit, but Ashlea seemed to love it the most. Audrey declared that she was tired of opening presents after awhile and that she just wanted to go and eat cheezels. Ashlea however was right into the presents and kept saying "Oooh, look at THAT" whenever she opened a new one, and "MY present" if someone tried to take one of hers away.
The present opening was followed by lots of running around in the backyard.
After that we played musical chairs. At this point things started to go a little awry. Carolin tried carrying Ashlea around to play (and was easily beaten by the preschoolers I might add) which worked OK, except that all the noise and activity lead Ashlea to have a meltdown. A BIG screaming meltdown in the middle of the garage with everyone watching. She was begging to be taken inside to watch TV. So at that point inclusion was abandoned for sanity's sake.
We then played pass the parcel while Ashlea watched In the Night Garden.
The kids then ate and went back to playing outside some more, until it was time to cut the cake...which involved going back to the garage (yes I DO make all the party eating happen in the garage...). We stood Ashlea in her stander beside Audrey and managed to get all the way through Happy Birthday before the screaming began. In full force. In front of everyone.
I think we can say the party was a success. Audrey had a great day at her party and seemed to love every minute of it. Ashlea was never going to cope with the whole thing, but we included her as much as possible. The other parents were incredibly helpful and a lot had gone out of their way to find gifts that they thought Ashlea would be interested in or able to manage. I think for a lot of them it was their first experience up close and personal with Ashlea (or any child with a disability probably). Heck there was even one mum there whose child only goes on a Thursday (Audrey's day, not Ashlea's) so neither of them would have never even met Ashlea before!!
And just in case you are wondering about the cake...it is ANTARCTICA. Its just a little geographically challenged - the polar bear was added because he was cute, and Ashlea loves turtles so we added a turtle as well. Here is a close up....'cos I know you're just dying for one...