I am sure there are many parents (myself included) who dread having to go to a public place knowing the risk of a meltdown by your child with a disability. There is also the sadness of knowing that there are places you won’t go for fear of not knowing how your child might respond.
Several years ago, I was a board member for the Permian Basin Autism Network (PBAN) in Midland. One of our main goals was to seek out organizations that would help accommodate those with autism. We hoped for years that one of the main movie theaters would set aside a time on a Saturday to allow a showing just for those with sensory difficulties—to give them the chance to see a movie without the loud noise or the crowds.
My own personal fear is my son ruining the movie for everyone else with his occasional outbursts. And yes, we have left the movie on two out of three tries after spending an arm and a leg for refreshments and movie tickets. Recently, I found out that the Cinergy Company in Midland is offering a special "Sensory Showing" starting once a month just for our kids. I was lucky enough to find the information on Facebook and was ecstatic.
Other national chains are also joining in to try to accommodate this population. Target is offering some early morning shopping hours with the music turned down and Chucky Cheese is also having a Sensory Day. I have also noticed that even huge sporting events are providing sound reduction headphones. Some are also making calming rooms available for those that get over stimulated.
Of course, if I had only known that a week ago, I am sure I would have just bought my son and I some Super Bowl tickets and headed to Houston. Well, maybe not, but I MAY just try one of the sensory showings in my hometown!
Search the Find Services, Groups and Events section to find inclusive accommodations in your area.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.