Hannah Brinkworth’s 10-year-old son Harry is autistic, and she said his birthdays are always difficult to organise.
Hannah was trying to arrange a party for his birthday on Tuesday, December 7, when he told her that two children said their parents would not let them go.
“Harry is autistic and we’ve known for a long time, and he’s not a bad kid in any way. He always wants birthday parties, but historically, every year we try to sort one and nobody comes,” said Hannah, who lives in Chesterfield.
“I mentioned to him that I needed to know what friends he wanted to come to his party so I could send invites. He said two names, but when I asked again he said they weren’t allowed to come.
“I said I didn’t understand, and he turned around and, at 10-years-old, said one had told him their mum doesn’t like him and they can’t play with him.”
Mrs Brinkworth said kids aren’t the problem - parents need to think about what they say in front of them, and consider the kind of example they set for their children.
“I found it absolutely baffling. It’s not the kids’ issue, it’s the parents' lack of understanding about Harry’s issues.
“It’s not discussed enough how parents talk about kids with additional needs or SEN issues, and they don’t understand the impact of what they say in front of their kids, which is then repeated - it’s unacceptable.”
After writing an Instagram post about what happened, Mrs Brinkworth said she was inundated with messages asking if they could send Harry a birthday card, with well-wishers from across the globe wanting to show their support.
“I obviously got upset and went on Instagram as you do, and thought it would be nice to see if people would send some cards out to him so he doesn’t feel as lonely on his birthday as he always does. Honestly, I’ve had hundreds of people message me wanting to send cards out - it’s blown us away.
“Something so bad has happened but it brings out the best in people, and that's taken me by surprise. It’s been shared by so many people, and I’ve had people from Dubai get in touch to see if they can send cards over.
“I think a lot of people feel the same way. The amount of people who have kids with autism or ADHD who have said similar things, it shows that it’s not kids who are the issues, it’s the grown-ups.”
Mrs Brinkworth urged people not to send gifts of any kind, and to only send cards if they can afford to do so. She said she just wanted to raise awareness of autism and help Harry to celebrate his birthday.
“We’re not doing it for any kind of pity party, and we don’t want people to buy or send expensive things. It’s just a case of making people aware of it, and making a little boy’s day.”
To send Harry a card, please address it to:
Master Harry Brinkworth