Friday, April 2, 2010

AMC Sensory Friendly Screenings - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

There is an article in today's Chicago Tribune (West Chicagoland edition) about AMC Theaters' Sensory Friendly Screenings of movies. This is a good example of two opposing philosophies as far as bringing our kids out into the community: should we try to accommodate their special needs or expect them to assimilate into "our" world? On one hand, it seems entirely fair to provide a setting for autistic people to enjoy a movie with the house lights turned up, the volume turned down, and no previews or ads to wait through before the feature presentation. I'm all for that, especially the last one. Usually Audrey has blown through most of the popcorn by the time the 15 minutes of previews are over.

On the other hand, the children are welcome to roam around the theater, dance, sing, and talk as loudly as they want during the movie. I'm not so crazy about that. I would like Audrey to learn how to behave in a movie theater. Knowing Audrey, if I were to take her to one of these screenings (which I haven't yet) just one time, she would not be able to understand why she couldn't act like that all the time in a movie theater and then I would only be able to take her to special screenings.

I am able to take Audrey to the movies quite frequently and we are usually even able to make it through to the end. But for Audrey the movie is the least interesting part of the experience. She loves the popcorn and candy, the arcade room with the flashing lights and that stupid vending game with the claw and all of the cheap toys, and stimming on the tiny little footlights on the steps inside the theater.

Audrey's quote of the day (so far...it's not even 9am!): "Last time you've been so tired today on Friday."

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