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"No birthday parties for me, Mum." 10 year old Chester is used to not being included.

April is Autism awareness month.

I have three kids. Charlotte, Paddy and Chester. And we we no strangers to a good Chester story.

Chester has, on a very official doctors report, Autism with a mild intellectual disability. He has delayed speech and has trouble with his fine motor skills. Using his hands, his little fingers at times just makes life a little tricky for him, and he attends a wonderful special development school.

But by God we have enjoyed some Chester stories

It’s not something I talk about very often. I’m the glass half full person. Chester is a gift to us. And after watching him code blue four times within his first year of life. I’m just so lucky to have him. If I’m truly honest, if I had lost Chester, and we very nearly did, I don’t think I would be here.

This all said, there are kids out there doing it much tougher than him. There are parents doing it much tougher than I. We are just bloody blessed.

A video posted on The Morning Rush where Kate Meade speaks about her son Chester has gone viral. Here’s what she says. Post continues below. 

I always say, Chester was gifted to us to make us slow down. To laugh more. To enjoy what we have, not what we haven’t.

I don’t talk about the challenges of raising a son with a disability. Mainly because I don’t want Autism to define who Chester is and I don’t want sympathy. But last night we faced a new challenge for Chester. It’s actually been raised before but this time, we had big silent drop tears from Chester.

My second child, Paddy had been invited to a birthday party. We were getting him ready and picking a present, and making sure he was all ready to go when Chester said, “No birthday parties for me again, Mum.” It was both a question and a statement.

Chester with his mum, Kate Meade. Image supplied.
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And those big silent tears dropped from his eyes. His head dropped down, shoulders hunched over.

Chester doesn't love hugs and kisses too much, but I pulled him close.

Now I know, I know. Kids don't get invited to birthday parties all the time. I'm taking notes from the toughen up, get on with it parenting school of thought.

Chester is turning 10 this year. And do you know how many birthday parties he has attended, not including family of course? One. When he was in prep.

Kathy Lette speaks to Mia Freedman about what it's like when one sibling has autism. Post continues below. 

It's tough. This is the stuff that makes me cry late at night, and worry about my wonderful little boy.

And so it's Autism awareness month.

And I'm not saying we should all go out and invite everyone to our kids' birthday parties, but we have kids in our community, attending main stream schools and this is not just about birthday parties. It's about inclusion.

autism
Chester with his family. Image supplied.

All I ever want is for Chester to be included. I guess I'm asking to keep an eye out for the kids like Chester in your community.

Just include them. It could make their... not just day....not just their year.... make a good memory for life. We always remember kindness.

KATE MEADE is the mother to a son with Autism and is a breakfast radio host.

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