kids

This Dad threw a party for all the kids who never receive party invitations.

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When you have a child you immediately flash forward to what their lives will be like.

You imagine nothing but health and happiness. They’ll laugh, smile, run around with their friends, learn, grow and give you lots of incredible hugs.

What you don’t imagine is that they may have extra challenges such as special needs or a disability. Suddenly that flash forward doesn’t look so wonderful, but it still looks pretty good.

Then they start school and while in Kindy they may be invited to a few birthday parties – because Kindy kids tend to invite the whole class – but eventually those invitations dry up.

Your amazing, incredible, unique child is on the outs. It’s devastating, and it’s a situation not easily fixed, particularly if your child’s needs are so severe they don’t receive any birthday party invitations in the first place.

Enter Cosi Andrew Costello, an Adelaide dad and TV presenter who decided to throw a birthday party for all the kids who constantly miss out on birthday party invites.

Cosi says he first came up with the idea while hosting an event for Muscular Dystrophy.

A mum who spoke at the event talked about her son, the many issues and challenges he faces each day, and at the of talk she spoke of the heartbreak of having a child with a disability is that he hasn’t been invited to a birthday party once.

That’s what she finds the hardest…not the financial strain, the stress placed on her relationship or the physical and mental toll of raising him, but watching kids at her son’s school run around holding birthday invitations, and her son is not.

She said her dream was that one day her son would come home with a birthday invitation in his school bag.

Cosi, who has two children of his own, said listening to her say that felt like “a knife through the heart”.

His daughters, aged seven and eight, have birthday invitations covering their entire fridge.

Normally prone to complaining about how many birthday parties he and his wife have to drive their kids to and from, he realised how lucky they were to be included.

Then he decided to use his birthday to invite 100 special needs kids to an amazing birthday party at Adelaide Zoo. He posted the invitation on Facebook.

Image: Facebook, @cosicostello

The invitation received thousands of invitations from which Cosi had to choose 100.

"I just would never have though it would've touched a nerve like this," he told Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddow on This Glorious Mess.

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The post has also made news around the world, including in Sweden and the UK.

"It's just wonderful that it's something that's been able to make a lot of people's day just a little bit better", and reading through the comments, he said, has been heartbreaking.

The zoo party took place over the weekend and was a roaring success.

"What an epic day!" Cosi wrote on Facebook.

"I had so much fun meeting all of you legends and I hope that the first birthday you were invited to was one to remember!"

Cosi and his generous gesture has highlighted the fact there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of special needs kids feeling left out, rejected and lonely, their devoted parents bereft at the thought of their amazing children missing out on something most children take for granted.

Take a look at all the fun from the day here. Post continues below.

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What Cosi is hoping happens as a result of the attention his party has received is that parents encourage their children to invite special needs and disabled children to their birthday parties. Imagine what an incredible gesture it will be not only for that child and their families, but in the form of an incredible example you are setting to your children.

The world is made up of so many different kinds of people. It is up to all of us to ensure children feel included, particularly those who face difficulties each and every day beyond the usual childhood.

It's such a simple thing to do.

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Feature image: Cheryle from Entice Photography and Design.

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