‘All of a sudden it became bigger than we thought’; Celebrating an 18th birthday on Autism Awareness Day

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FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Turning 18 on autism awareness day prompted the mother of a local autistic child to celebrate his big day while still raising awareness of the condition – in an event that ended up being even more special than imagined.

Heather Roberts-Short told just a couple people close to her son, Devin, to come by and wish him a happy birthday – but word got out.

“All of a sudden it became bigger than we thought it was going to be and all these people showed up to give their support and people are still showing up actually so it’s just really overwhelming and super neat and it’s just because Devin is so special.”

Turning 18 is a landmark birthday, but even more so for those with special needs. Today is Autism Awareness Day and social distancing makes having a birthday celebration a tough proposition.

“It seems like as we’re more apart, everybody’s coming more together – everybody’s experiencing a more sense of community and that’s values that we grew up on and so I really enjoy seeing that,” said Heather.

Neighbors, friends, teachers and family members took time out of their day, lined right up on Devin’s street to show their support on his special day.

“It’s one of my best birthdays I’ve ever had, it was a really special parade, I’m really thankful that everybody came for a parade,” Devin said.

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