We hit a milestone today. My little man attended his first movie at the theatre. This my friends, is huge. All four of us were able to go to the movies together as a family.
It all started a few months back, when a local mom took it upon herself to start a petition to get our local movie theatre to offer sensory-friendly movies. Basically, the movie volume is lowered, the lighting is brighter than your traditional movie, and it's acceptable for people to chit-chat, and move around if they have to. Or if they want to. While the theatres have not yet committed to doing this on a regular basis, they did invite the autism community to attend a movie this morning.
Going to a movie might not seem like a big deal to some families, but perhaps that is because it's a real option for you. A way to kill a rainy afternoon, or a great last-minute recreational option. But to us, loud movies, darkened theatres and the need to be hush-hush aren't a real option. So, what happened this morning was an example of real inclusion. A commnity event was made accesssible to those who might be otherwise excluded.
I loved that I didn't have to worry if himself failed to whisper. I loved that the kid behind me periodically kicked my seat, and his parents didn't have to worry that I would be upset. Or even be offended in the least. I loved overhearing one boy say to another, "when my fish dies, I'm going to get a rabbit, and when my rabbit dies, I'm going to get a reindeer." Moreso, the fact that he said this loud enough for all to hear, in the middle of a movie theatre, and not one person was annoyed.
You see, sometimes it's not just the person with the disability who needs to be included. Sometimes it's the whole family. As families, we need places to go and things to do, but we want to be able to do them in an accepting environment. We can do that for each other, but we need community partnerships to provide a breadth of experiences and options for our families. We need companies and venues who are compassionate enough to make the effort to serve the whole community.
So, thank you to the mom who took the time, and put the energy into asking for this movie experience.
And thank you to Empire Theatres for being willing to make small accomodations, that make such a big diference.
This morning, we went to a movie. All of us, together.