Kim called a bakery in Homewood to order her daughter a birthday cake. Elizabeth Scott of Savage’s bakery took her order. Nothing unusual about that.
But as the two continued to talk about the birthday girl, Kim said that the cake should be decorated with lots of flowers just like the daughter loves. In fact, her mom says, she’s “obsessed” with them.
She then mentioned her daughter was autistic and that there would be no party to usher Amy to teenage hood as she has never had a party either way.
Kim had once organized a party for Amy and made a few invitations but no one showed up. Amy was never invited to other kid’s parties too. She then vowed never to put her child through that humiliation and from then onwards, she never had parties for her birthdays.
Elizabeth was surprised to hear that a child has never had a real birthday before. Although she didn’t know anything about autism, she made it her mission to make Amy’s day special. She decided to throw a party for Amy in the bakery’s party room.
“This spoke to my heart,” Elizabeth says. “I told her we would invite a bunch of folks and make it extra special.”
Elizabeth posted an invitation on the bakery’s Facebook page, and contacted the Birmingham-based nonprofit KultureCity, which works to make public places around the country more sensory-friendly for people with autism.
Dr. Julian Maha, founder of KultureCity has a nearly 11 year old son who has non-verbal autism and knows exactly how Kim feels about birthday parties.
He says, “The reality for children with autism is that no one invites you to their birthday parties and no one ever attends a birthday party for you.”
But this changed for Amy when many people showed up to her party with lots of gifts.
Dr. Julian came with a sensory activation vehicle which featured a sensory room complete with comfy bean bag chairs, water and lighting features, and textile paneling with different textures, designed to help children calm down. Amy went in and the other kids joined her in, which relieved her anxiety. They had so much fun.
One of her best gifts was a colorful stuffed chicken that made clucking sounds.
“We live on a farm, and she loves chickens,” says Kim.
“We made it a special day for her. Amy was all smiles all day long.” Elizabeth said
“People like Elizabeth, for me, are the reason why we do what we do, because if we can convert someone like Elizabeth who really has no personal connection to disabilities and take that message of inclusion and acceptance to the next level, we’ve done our job.” Said Dr. Julian.
“She had an awesome day.” Her mom concluded
Here is a clip of Amy’s birthday party