Sunday, January 23, 2011
A Sensory Friendly Experience
Yesterday, our local theater introduced their first 'Sensory Friendly Film' with a special showing of Tangled! For those who don't know what this means, it is simply a special showing where lights are left brighter, sound is turned down, it is accepted that kids may have troubles staying in their seat, etc. It is meant so that children with sensory issues, often present with autism, can enjoy going to the movies, an experience that might be too much otherwise. We were so excited to have the chance to go see a movie again, it had been awhile and our last experience did not go well. We have found that theaters and churches both freak Shaun out horribly!
Unfortunately, the experience did not go as well as hoped (though still better than the last). We arrived 20-25 minutes early to avoid any crowd, and thankfully, we did because it took that long to get him to finally go into the theater! We would go towards the door and once we'd reach a certain point and he'd either stop and go back, or if I was holding him, cling for dear life and protest. So we stood outside the doors watching the advertisements, gradually making our way closer. By the time the movie finally started, he was able to go in, but wanted to linger towards the back. At one point, he sat for a few minutes, and then quickly decided to leave the theater again. After walking around in the lobby for a few minutes, Shaun's best buddy arrived! He decided that his love of his friend would, for a brief period at least, overcome his fear of the theater, so in we went. I will not say he sat and watched- he was jumping around, spilling popcorn everywhere, alternating between sitting and standing but in one spot, other than the occasional trying to climb over seats. I'm not sure how long we actually stayed that time, but we ended up having to leave before the movie was over, he was simply done. (Needless to say, I know nothing about Tangled, though it seemed like a cute little movie.) He ended up falling asleep on the drive home.
So, our first attempt at seeing a 'sensory friendly film', was not the glowing success I had hoped for, but we will not let this discourage us from trying again. Maybe after a few tries, he will start doing better and eventually we'll make it through an entire movie! I have full confidence that one day we will get to that point. And until that day, we just keep on trying!