Songs--In particular Happy Birthday

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

My 7 year old son has autism and the song "Happy Birthday" is very stressful for him. We no longer sing it at birthdays as he becomes so distraught over it. We can't quite figure out why it upsets him, has anyone else had this issue? Thanks!

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Sophia Marie - posted on 11/10/2012

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my son never like that song... still cry if its being sing for him. but will sing it for others. I always tell everyone please dont sing. This is why I dont buy cakes .. we just hand out cupcakes. And my son dont have a Dx. of autism .. some social delays

Sally - posted on 03/18/2009

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I have found with my son who has Aspergers that there are several things that make him upset that make so sense to me.  It is possible that the sudden outbreak of the loud noise of a group of people singing Happy Birthday is what is setting him off.  I would try singing the song with him in a more controlled setting, for example when it is just you and him.  If he can get comfortable with that add in a person at a time until he gets used to a larger group.  Or you could try a recording playing it quietly at first and increasing the volume.

Donna - posted on 03/17/2009

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hi lisa, my two year old son has suspected autism as its not been diagnoised yet, but i have the same problem if i sing happy birthday to him he gets really upset.a pampers advert in the uk about uniclef used the birthday song and that distraughts him too. i think its more about tones and pitch of the song, because i changed the words and it still upset him. certain tones and pitch seems to effect him more then others. now i dont sing happy birthday to him i have made a birthday song using the theme tune of thomas and he is fine with that. i hope it helps, because its reassure me that my son isnt the only one who has this problem as it is still alll very new to me

Lisa - posted on 03/17/2009

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HI guys keep your chins up, if you are lucky like I was with Daniel they will come around to liking the Happy Birthday song or at least tolerate it. Daniel is 20 on sunday and will be singing along with the rest of us on the day. The one -on -one sing a long is a great idea. Keep smiling girls we do survive.

Jennifer - posted on 03/16/2009

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I have he same problem with the Happy B-day song.  It definately has to do with everyone singing it and the noisy busy b-day environment.  Before my daughters birthday this year I preset him by singing it to him by myself.  he did not like it at first and said "no mommy sing!"  but I softly said "it's ok, your ok" which he understands and kept singing it.  He eventually came around.  He didnt' love it at the party but he didn't freak out either. My son is almost 3 and is so smart he does not like b-days and large gatherings x-mas ect.  and he knows the darn song refers to the b-day partys he hates! 

Alicia - posted on 03/16/2009

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We have this EXACT same problem with Sam!!



Sam doesn't like anyone singing, but Happy B-day is torture for him because EVERYONE is singing..



I have been easing into softly singing to him, hoping he can learn a tolerence.



Sam will actually start punching his own face if he doesn't want you to sing. We have the same issue with smiling at him, that is horrible because everyone naturally smiles at him.

[deleted account]

Hi Lisa



We have tried to rule out everything first to see if we could figure it out.  He likes blowing out the candles, we thought it may be the cheering we did and it wasn't that, we sing a song from Bear in the Big Blue House and he is fine.  The birthday song upsets him like nothing else!  Thanks for the idea of the tape!

[deleted account]

Hi Anneka



It is just that song that makes him so upset.  He didn't like any singing before either but has come around from that and really enjoys listening to music.  Thanks for the input!

Lisa - posted on 03/16/2009

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Hi Lisa It may be the tone, the loudness or strangely enough not the song but the candles. My son was the same with birthday parties and we worked out it was the candles that terrified him as he was unable to blow them out and was as such unable to control his surroundings. He also has an issue with singing and music in general but we can now sing "Happy Birthday" and he joins in too. Only time will tell if your son will become use to the song, but try playing it on a tape when he is asleep and see if it affects him then. If you are anything like me you will try anything once. Good luck.

Anneka - posted on 03/15/2009

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Is it just THAT song? My son had a problem with people singing in general. He would listen to the radio at a very low tone, but HATED to hear anyone sing to him, my Mom in particular. He eventually kind of grew out of it, but it still bothers him occasionally. I'm sorry that I don't really have any advice for you, except maybe that time will help? We definitely did have a similar problem though.

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