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Woman with special needs celebrates 22nd birthday with drive-thru party

C.J. Scott’s parents invite friends, neighbors to drive through neighborhood for their daughter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic is impacting all facets of life from business to social interaction, and that includes birthday parties. C.J. Scott’s parents wanted to make her 22nd birthday memorable.

Scott has special needs. Marissa, her mother, said Scott has apraxia -- a severe speech disorder. She’s mentally handicapped and she’s on the autism spectrum.

None of that mattered on Tuesday as car after car drove into the cul-de-sac where the Scotts live to see the birthday girl. Scott’s parents make sure that her birthday is always memorable—a task made more difficult this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

“For years, we’ve always done a big party for her. That’s her big thing,” Scott’s mother said. “So this year, with everything that’s going around--she doesn’t really understand what’s going on, so it’s hard for her to really accept the fact that she’s not going to have a party, so we’re just trying to do our best in the midst of this chaos to make it special for her."

With social distancing the order of the day, Scott’s friends came by one car at a time to drop off gifts and wish her a happy 22nd.

“For her to see people is important,” Scott’s mother said. “I think she doesn’t really need to know what’s going on, but if she can just see people stop by and wish her happy birthday, I think that’s enough.”

Wearing a dress covered by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and flanked by balloons featuring the mice, Scott sais she wants to go to Busch Gardens, and, you guessed it, Disney. One day, hopefully soon, maybe she’ll be able to.

Scott attends the North Florida School for Special Education and her classmates come from all over the area.

She also had a message for everyone who is sick right now.

“Everyone who is sick, get well soon.”


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