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.

6/11/08

Their own day at the movies...

|Special To The Sun

It all started because Meaghan Ross wanted to dance.

Last summer, Meaghan's mother, Marianne Ross, took her to see the movie Hairspray. Because Meaghan has autism, and Marianne knows she can get excited during movies, she chose an early-in-the-day showing, when the theater would be nearly empty.

During the show, the Elkridge 8-year-old was so enchanted by the upbeat music and energetic dancing that she began to move her body. She wanted to dance in the aisles, but instead she was asked to leave the theater, her mother said.

"She got kicked out because she can't really sit still," said Ross. "She flaps her hands and gets really excited. ... I was just so upset when she was kicked out. She was just the picture of pure joy."

Pure joy--that's often how I describe my daughter in those moments. Those times when she is dancing, jumping, flapping, and giggling. I'd never think my child would get in trouble for being happy. Go figure.

Meaghan's mom was amazed that the AMC general manager agreed to her request: create a showing just for children with special needs. The first movie had 300 people in attendance, and they've had them monthly since November. The movies are at 9:30 in the morning, there are no trailers, and special care is taken with regard to the sound and lighting. AMC is considering adding this to other markets. I've heard of similar programs at other theaters. I think many of us can relate to what these parents have to say:
"It's just ... everybody understands," said Ross. Before the show starts, the lights are adjusted until "everybody is satisfied," she said. The sound is likewise adjusted, and during the movie, people often move around or talk. "Anything goes," she said. "We're all in the same boat."

"The world is so cruel to people who are different," said Michele Schwarzman. But at the AMC films, she said, "we can sit in the theater and nobody will comment."

2 comments:

Sharon said...

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.

S.L. said...

Sharon,

I agree! That was my thought too. In fact, I just wrote an entry based on your reply! :)

Btw, I love your photography.