My son Ryan has challenges making friends. So movies have always been a huge part of our lives. They are something we can enjoy together, rain or shine.
He always knows the opening date of every movie he wants to see. Even if it is 6 months away. Seeing movies on opening weekend is our “thing.” It gives Ryan something to look forward to. Opening dates are a hot topic of conversation.
But lately, going to the movies is presenting a new set of challenges.
Along with autism, Ryan also has Tourette’s Syndrome and extreme restlessness. It is hard for him to sit in his seat for too long or to keep quiet. He often talks to himself. He loves going to the movies, but his up and down and talking can disturb others.
It’s time to change our movie schedule.
I’ll never stop taking Ryan to the movies. I have decided that going on a weekday will be better. With more room to move around and fewer people, we will be less likely to bother others. I am all for inclusion in public places. But I recognize that other people have paid to see the movie as well. They should enjoy the movie experience without distractions. We used to sit in the front of the theater so that he could easily exit and whisper to himself. Those days are long gone.
I know how hard it can be for parents like myself. I want to take my son everywhere possible and to enjoy the time. But it’s stressful when behaviors interfere. When people have asked Ryan to be quiet, he always apologizes. That’s great. But apologies can only go so far when the talking continues. I worry that an incident would be devastating.
Will we ever again go to a movie on a weekend? Only if the movie has been out for a few weeks and the crowds are light. Will he like our new movie schedule? Probably not. But it’s our best solution. For now, it’s weekday movies for us. I’m grateful we have something we can still enjoy together.
Behaviors and sensory issues can make going to the movies challenging for many families. Another solution might be the sensory friendly screenings that are becoming popular at many movie theaters. Studio Movie Grill, https://www.studiomoviegrill.com/Movie/Film-Series/Special-Needs-Screenings AMC, https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films and Cinemark http://www.facetsbcs.org/sensory-friendly-movies-at-cinemark.html are among theaters in the Houston area that offer sensory friendly screenings. Consult websites for availability and show times.
You can get additional Tips for Public Outings on this page.
Living with a child who has mental health issues can come with a lot of unknowns just like having a child with physical health issues. But society can treat both children very differently.
I have two boys. One is 10 and the other is 8. Both of my kids have disability labels. One has a physical disability and the other has emotional and behavioral issues. One disability you can see, the other you don’t – but it is there.