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The happiest of birthdays

Due to his various additional needs, James doesn’t really ‘get’ birthdays, but that didn’t mean that we would let the day slip by unnoticed…

James with his stack of 150 birthday cards. / Image via [link]The Additional Needs Blogfather[/link].

The other day it was James’ birthday, a special birthday, his 21st birthday. An occasion to look forward to for most people, although not a day that James particularly recognised or understood himself.

Due to his various additional needs, James doesn’t really ‘get’ birthdays, but that didn’t mean that we would let the day just slip by unnoticed…

We planned a wonderful day for James to remember, a day filled with his favourite things, a day that would bring him joy and delight, thrills and excitement.

A special day, the happiest of days, the best of birthdays… and our plan worked!


Operation birthday card

One of James’ favourite things when his birthday comes around is receiving lots of birthday cards and opening them. Last year, by appealing on social media, through people’s kindness we managed to get over 80 birthday cards sent through the post for James.

This year our target was 100 cards, and we smashed it! We gathered over 150 cards from across the world, with contributions from Brownie and Guide groups too!

James was thrilled and spent a happy birthday morning opening all of his cards, looking at each one, and giving instructions as to where they were to be placed!

[photo_footer] All of his birthday cards [/photo_footer] 


Farm shop trip

James’ favourite place in the whole world is Pamphill Farm Shop near Wimborne in Dorset. He loves going there to do a bit of shopping, and the staff are really inclusive, remembering his name, and accommodating his needs like when he has to line up the entire stock of iced gingerbread!

We took James there on the afternoon of his birthday, he had a lovely time, and we followed it up with a visit to the café at Compton Abbas airfield, a little grass airstrip near Shaftestbury, Dorset.

Two of James’ favourite places in one day! Woo-hoo!


Birthday tea… And cake!

A trip out to James’ favourite places usually ends with a visit to the fish and chip shop on the way home. James has several ‘favourites’ to choose from, sometimes it’s fish cakes, but on this day it was chip shop chicken nuggets and chips.

And of course, there has to be cake on a birthday, and as James likes chocolate it had to be a full-on chocolate fest cake… with a candle to blow out!

[photo_footer] James with his birthday tea… chip shop chicken nuggets and chips [/photo_footer] 


And relax…

After such a busy day, it was time to chill out and relax for the evening… curled up on the sofa watching tv and thinking back to what a wonderful birthday it had been.

Just because James didn’t know it was his birthday didn’t mean we could treat it like any other day; we wanted to give James great memories to look back on, for him to know that he is loved, that we care enough for him to make his day extra special anyway.

And it worked, it really was the very best of birthdays and James was smiling all the way through.

Happy Birthday!

Mark Arnold, Director of Additional Needs Ministry at Urban Saints. Arnold blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. This article was re-published with permission.




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