I know I'm going to get flack for writing this, much less, thinking it. But since this is my blog, a place for my thoughts and opinionated feelings, I'm just going to say it and deal with the hate mail later.

Here goes...

Severely autistic, ocd, adhd toddlers with sensory processing issues have no business going to a movie theater to "watch" a movie. Now, maybe other severely autistic, ocd toddlers (age 3) can manage themselves at an hour and a half movie with no problem, so I can't speak for all but I do know MY child should be kept as far away from a movie theater as physically process.

One of the teachers in one of the special ed day classes at summer school thinks taking the (autistic) children to see Toy Story 3 is a good idea and is trying to organize a movie day instead of a day of routine, scheduled and anticipated summer school. The plan is to go to the movie in the am, before the actual movies start for the general public==that way it will be only the special kids and their parents.

I've tried to look at this from all sides, I've over analyzed it like I do most things. I'm sure there is plenty of great intention behind this whole plan but I can think of about two hundred places that might better suit the short attention span and bad behavior of an autistic child. Mine anyway.

Another mother of an autistic boy in the class and I were talking...she's right there with me on this one. So, at least I know I'm not being completely irrational about this. The teacher seems to think it is going to be fun. She said the kids don't have to watch the movie really, they can just run around and it will be ok because the won't be disturbing anyone. Hmmmmm. Ok, then why not take them to a kids gym where they can run around and play with the Lights ON--a place where running around is encouraged? Not a dark, loud, place with stairs and millions of people germs on every single surface.

My thought is that unless the idea is to "teach" your child how they should behave in a movie theater, by sitting still and being quiet, then what is the point? I know that the Doodle isn't going to be all broken up if he doesn't get to see Toy Story 3. He doesn't know what Toy Story 3 even is. It's not like he's asking about it...and would he even like it or be interested, probably not. The subtle grown up humor and precise comic timing of Tim Allen and Tom Hanks would be completely lost on him, and the incredible special effects of Pixar would be equally lost.

Am I depriving my child of fun and popculture? Nope. He would get there and be completely overstimulated and not know how to regulate himself and he'd go a little nuts inside and there'd be running and falling and crying and chasing and a lot of flapping and then we'd have to leave early and then I would get to the car while he screamed and I would kick myself for going and question my better judgement. Again. And while having flashback and an acute moment of deja vu, I would wrestle him into the car. I would let a big sigh, put my keys in the ignition and sob. The sobbing comes from a place where I know better, but try to have hope and then realize that things aren't getting better, they are getting worse while trying to do something so very normal and mainstream, something I love to do more than anything...go to a movie. It's another wake up call that illustrates to me that the simplest of pleasures such a going to a movie are not within my reach with the Doodle. Not now anyway.

Every day I am reminded of how different the Doodle is and how different my life is now and is gong to be in the future. So I'm feeling a little resentful that a teacher who should know better is planning such an event for such young children who could probably care less about seeing the latest and greatest movie out in theaters.

What scares me about this is that a Teacher of autistic children does not understand the anguish she would be putting parents through; maybe not all parents, but parents like me with a child like mine.


  1. Amen, sister. I am so ticked off about this whole thing....My son is missing a day where he anticipates the bus picking him up. He is missing a day where he receives physical therapy. He is missing a day where he has structure, and is learning. You hit the nail on the head with each and every word. I am so disappointed that my son's teacher would choose such an awful outing for a group of 3 and 4 year old autistic children. "They can run up and down the aisles, they can take the elevators, whatever they want to do." Quote from the teacher. And....what is that teaching my child??? No thank you. He can stay home.