October 13, 2020 | By: Leslie Curtis
For 18 years, we have had family-only birthday parties for our son, Jac. I worried that other kids wouldn’t show up. I worried that if they did, Jac might have a meltdown—and what would happen then?
For 18 years, I let that fear take over.
Until this year.
Jac seemed to really enjoy the two proms for people with disabilities he was invited to earlier in the year. So I decided that we would try to have a dance party somewhere. After much deliberation, I decided to have the party at our house. Jac would be comfortable in his own surroundings. If he got overwhelmed, he could always retreat to his room. And if I got overwhelmed, I could run to my bedroom to cry.
With a little bit of planning and moving furniture around, we turned our very own living room into a dance club with lights and all things disco. My oldest son served as the DJ and we had the perfect playlist of party hits and the latest hit by the Jonas Brothers.
As the time arrived for the party, I was shocked that several of his classmates came to our house. One mom was so touched. This was the first time in 17 years her son had ever been invited to a party. I explained to her that we too had been in her exact same shoes. As we had only been invited to one party over the years. She was so grateful that we included every student in the special education classes at his school.
Much to our surprise, we quickly learned that Jac and his friends love music and love to dance. Not only do they love to dance but they were great dancers. We tried to stop the dancing to sing Happy Birthday and guess what? The kids ate and wanted the music back on right away.
I have to say the best part of the day was when one of the kids decided to start requesting songs. He apparently loved Lionel Richie. So our DJ quickly scrambled to find a top hit, “All Night Long.” And as luck would have it, that was the song that brought every kid and adult onto the dance floor. We were all dancing, smiling and showing off our best moves.
After the party, my husband and oldest son just looked at the empty dance floor in pure amazement. We all had just found a new window into our Jackson’s world. Music and dancing is what makes his world go round. And now, he is already requesting another dance party with his classmates.
Yes, Jac, we will have another dance party, so that you can shake your groove thing!
Here are more of Leslie’s Jac articles.