Internet Drags Mom Who Purposefully Didn't Invite 'Special Needs Kid' to Daughter's Party

School policies revolving around children's birthday parties typically state that to invite one child, you must invite the entire class. One mother found a way around that rule and the internet didn't hold back thoughts on the matter.

In a Reddit post that's gone viral in the "Am I the A**hole (AITA)" forum, a mother said that she planned a party for her 7-year-old daughter but didn't want to invite everyone.

"Some parents have gone around that but I don't like that whole dynamic so I'm making her stick to the school guidelines. She wants to invite her whole class," the user known as YourDad43 wrote.

However, her daughter questioned if they had to invite a child she called "Avery" from her class — a child who lives with Autism.

"My daughter comes home with a story about something this kid did easily twice a week," she said. "She said she doesn't want everyone paying attention to Avery "like they always do at school'. I thought about it and decided daughter doesn't have to invite her. I have nothing against the girl, but I respect my daughter's choice."

Things took a turn when Avery's mother found out she wasn't invited.

"I told the other parent it wasn't malicious but I do want my daughter to be able to enjoy her birthday party without having to always be 'inclusive,'" she said. "She must have passed this on because the girl's mom messaged me and said 'thanks for reminding us yet again that we don't get invited to things'. I apologized but I stood firm."

The woman ended her post by stating she didn't want her daughter to be "miserable at her own birthday party," noting that she didn't get a party during last year's pandemic.

According to Michigan State University, Dr. Lynn Todman is Executive director of the Institute on Social Exclusion at Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. She studied the term "social exclusion," which was coined in the 1970s as a way to describe those "excluded" from the job market. Today, the term is more widely applied.

"There is research showing that when people feel like they're being excluded, they lose their willingness to self-regulate," she said.

A kid's birthday party.
A children's birthday party. Steven Gottlieb/Getty Images

With that in mind, the backlash forced the woman to re-think her choices about the party. Many rushed in to share their thoughts, including the comment with the most upvotes (nearly 20,000).

"YTA, you didn't stick to the guidelines. You invited everyone except one person, which is literally the reason the rule exists, and you did it for ableist reasons. You're the reason the rule exists. Good job," user SometimesSmarmy wrote.

"She basically taught her daughter that it was Avery's fault she wasn't invited. When Avery has no control over her diagnosis. Even if Avery had acted out of the norm at the party, she probably didn't mean to. This could have been an opportunity for everyone to be inclusive and grow," Federal_Toe5143 said.

"I absolutely agree the invite everyone rule is stupid (and probably not enforceable) but to exclude ONE kid in the class is simply not acceptable," DimiBlue commented.

Although the vast majority of readers felt firmly against the OP's (original poster) decisions, some came to her defense.

"I personally of the opinion that if a seven year old does not feel comfortable with someone at her BIRTHDAY PARTY then I wouldn't force them to invite that person just so I can congratulate myself on how 'inclusive' I am," TipiTapi said.

"At the same time, behavior issues is behavior issues. Disability or not it's still a issue. It may not harm but it may make the others uncomfortable, that's probably why the daughter doesn't want her there. Yes it's important to treat everyone equally, so treat people on the spectrum and a normal kid equally by not letting that one kid ruin the rest of the others day by making them uncomfortable," Catnip-Jutsu added.

Clearly the situation is nuanced with no easy answer. Those who rated the Redditor deemed her "the A**hole," which is exactly what posters hope to avoid.

Correction (11/17/2021, 4:00 p.m.): An earlier version of this article cited Dr. Lynn Todman as Executive director of the Institute on Social Exclusion at Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Adler University's VP of Communications Mark Branson confirmed that the Institute no longer exists and Dr. Todman no longer works at the University.