A HEARTBROKEN mum says Christmas is a "time of rejection" for her family, as her three autistic sons are never invited to any parties.
Writing for Mamamia, Kathrine Peereboom says she and non-verbal sons Oliver, seven, Joshua, six, and Tyler, five, "have had more than our fair share of exclusion, ridicule and being overlooked" over the years.
Katherine lives in Australia, where restrictions are more relaxed because of the small number of coronavirus cases, and is the CEO of Spectrum Support.
With Christmas parties just days away, all of her three sons are yet to receive any invites for festive fun.
She said: "We have no social or party invitations at all. It never gets easier to feel and witness the rejection.
"It’s easy to overlook the non-verbal child because they don’t understand, right? Wrong! My boys hear, feel and know when they are being left out and, as a parent, I do my best to shield them from the pain."
Katherine says she is under no illusions her lads should be invited to every party, admitting some would be unsuitable for them.
But she added: "However it would be nice if one – just one – parent would talk to me and send the boys an invitation to something. Anything!
"My boys are awesome! They are fun, cheeky, intelligent and get into all kinds of mischief like any other kids their age. I just want their circle to appreciate how much they could contribute to a fun day.
"The isolation we experience as a family is devastating. The boys have no friends, no play dates and spend their time between therapy, school and home."
In the past, Katherine has invited 20 kids her sons' birthday parties, only to have no-one other than immediate family turn up.
In her seven years of being a mother, she's only thrown one "successful" birthday party which guests actually turned up to.
Katherine says, although they have different needs, she ultimately wants what every parent wants for their child – to be validated, included and accepted for who they are.
Fabulous previously spoke to X Factor winner Sam Bailey, who says she feels "incredibly guilty" for how she disciplined her autistic son before his diagnosis.
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