Kandis Othmer was heartbroken when only one friend showed up for her son’s sixth birthday. “Gavin is very outgoing and energetic,” Kandis says, and like any little boy, he was looking forward to his party. “He is very sweet and loving and loves people.”
But for Gavin, making friends has never been an easy task. The fun-loving, boisterous, extroverted little boy has autism, and that means he gets excluded from a lot of things. “Unfortunately, he is treated differently in a lot of ways,” Gavin’s mom shared. She believes this is due to his form of autism, and when others find out, they tend to ostracize him.
“Unfortunately, it’s the special needs children that are left out of things. He doesn’t quite understand as to why no one comes to his parties.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a surveillance study identified 1 in 68 children as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Interactive Autism Network revealed that a startling 63 percent of these children are affected by bullying. Dr. Paul Law, director of the IAN Project said, “These survey results show the urgent need to increase awareness, influence school policies, and provide families and children with effective strategies for dealing with bullying.”
Gavin’s uncle, Adam Purdy, hated seeing his nephew suffer and sought to raise awareness about the issue. He wanted to make sure the boy felt loved and accepted and wasn’t forgotten. Deciding to reach out on Facebook, he wrote a message asking friends to send a card, small gift, or even just some well wishes to make Gavin feel special.
The local news station KHQ6 caught wind of the call out for help and rallied to the cause.
The news station, along with help from the Spokane Police Department, got together to throw Gavin a surprise party complete with gifts, cupcakes, and some time with the department’s K-9 police dog named Zeus. It’s heartwarming stories like these that remind us to believe in the goodness of humanity.
We’re so glad Gavin got the party he deserved! For every person who wants to exclude you, there are even more who will accept and love you for exactly who you are.More On