Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.


Accomodations vs. Exclusion

Sharon left a comment on this earlier post. This is her reply:

It's a double edge sword. It's great that AMC is accommodating.

But it sucks that we have to go to a "special" time because most people don't understand and are not willing to accept.

I think what she says is so true. I was hesitant to comment that my initial reaction about these "special move showings" was very mixed. I too think it's nice when businesses (as well as schools!) make accommodations, and this is no exception. There is a theater about 40 minutes away who also offers such showings. We've never gone, because of the drive. Also, for now, the 2-3 times per year we go to the movies, things have gone fine. I was startled reading this article, as my child has gotten up and danced around, jumped, scooted up and down the steps. So far, and I guess we are lucky, no one has complained. We try to go to shows that are less crowded, prepare my daughter ahead of time, and always have an aisle seat.

I suppose if my child were kicked out of a movie, I would drive the extra distance to the special showing. However, at the same time, I think I would take extreme issue with the theater. I would certainly let my views heard, to say the least. I have been in the movie with a baby crying (and not just for a second, I mean repeated crying, and this was in an R-rated movie). We all see the obvious "turn off your cell phones!" messages on the big screen--and yet, phones ringing is still an issue. Plenty of adults are annoying in the theater--critiquing each part or just talking aloud. In every children's movie I have gone to see, there's always been at least a couple of children speaking or whispering, laughing louder and longer, etc. The point is--whatever movie you are seeing, chances are there will be some distraction. You are in public, people. What do you expect?

It would be nice if the public wouldn't simply point at our children and say their behavior is unacceptable. It's a double-standard. If you truly cannot sit in a public theater and put up with some noise or distraction, then I suggest you stay home and rent a movie. The same goes for you if you are at a family restaurant (I'm talking about say Chili's, Friday's, etc. not Tavern On the Green!) and a child is "annoying" you. Stay home! If you go out into public, you must be tolerant of others, plain and simple.

One the flip side of that, I do appreciate special accommodations. My child happens to do fairly well in theaters, but I can see the benefit of lower sound, altered lighting, and no trailers. I can see this as being the only way for some families to attend the movies together. There is something to be said about being in a comfortable environment, where everyone understands your child. I know that when we get together with families from my daughter's special ed class, it seems to be an easier, more relaxed time. None of us need to explain or feel judged if our child behaves a certain way. No one stares if our child stims or has a meltdown. We've all "been there, done that." It is so nice to be with a group that you can relate to, and who relates to you. It feels safe, and I suspect our children feel the same way.

It would be nice if our children would all be accepted, and society would be more tolerant. I think, as messages like this come into the mainstream, we will get closer to that. For now, it seems like a nearly unattainable Utopia, and as such, our only option may be separate programs (in some cases) for our children. I do push strongly for inclusion, no doubt. But, I do see a place for special accommodations--even if that may mean exclusion some of the time.


Club 166 said...

Well, you can cut out the trailers, as long as you don't cut out the credits.

Buddy Boy has had a thing for the credits, since long before he could ever read. When he was 3 we took him to his first movie showing (I think it was Piglet's Big Movie). In order to avoid a meltdown, we had to sit there long after the lights came up and the rest of the small crowd had left the theater, in order to stay until the last credit rolled.


geosaru said...

I still always stay for the credits...it just doesn't feel "right" not to. I can't stand the incompletion, as well as the fact that, if so many people worked on the movie, and made a special point about having their names credited, I've always felt uncomfortable leaving in the middle of it.

S.L. said...

I've known a few autie/aspie kids who also enjoy (more like ENJOY!!!) the credits.

Me, I like to watch them too. I always feel such joy when the filmmakers have put either funny lines in the credits or add some footage at the end.