This weekend we attempted our first theater outing in one + years.
Right before Adrian was diagnosed with Autism I attempted to take his sister and him to see Alice in Wonderland at a two room theater. This was Adrian’s first time at this particular theater. I thought it would be okay because it was so small. I should have known better.
Two things to know about Adrian
1) He Hates crowds
2) He Hates dark places to the point where he sleeps with his own bedroom light on
These factors should have been enough for me! I had know idea why my son freaked out when people were too close or there were too many people or why the dark bothered him so. I did not know that he hears extremely well even if it takes him 27 times to answer his name! I should have after having four hearing tests done within three years and all of them saying nothing was wrong!! I just did not understand! I did not get it!! Sometimes I still don’t!! That’s the mystery of my child!
To return to the topic Alice in Wonderland went horribly!!! Half of the entire theater complained because Adrian made noise, was switching seats and bouncing and jumping. Being loud in general!! This was usually for me so I was not bothered until the manager pulled me aside told me that several people had complained and that I should not bring him there again. I replied you don’t need to worry I won’t !! I wanted to slap that man!!! Treating my six year old son as if he had the plague or something. My mom had said the man tried to talk to Adrian and someone had gave him Sierra Mist his favorite for free trying to calm him. Did not work! I did not have any idea what to think about the place after that but we never went back!!
Fast forward to this weekend. Adrian’s Special Education teacher had told us about a sensory friendly movie showing once a month at a theater kind of close to us. We were going to go in May, but scheduling got in the way. We went Saturday to see Cars 2. We had planned for two or so months and I had been telling Adrian every so often what day we were going and to where. Cars 2 is a movie he has been waiting to see since ads started appearing on tv.
We (Steve, Jade, Adrian, and I) got to the theater and had to wait 15 minutes for it to open. So that was difficult as waiting is another hard issue with Adrian. Then we bought tickets and popcorn and drinks and reese’s pieces. Then it was putting toppings on popcorn and finally time to go to the theater. Adrian has an obsession with the number 3. He has argued with me about needing to be 3 everything! We were in theater two. Surprisingly he was fine!! Earlier he had stated he wanted to sit in seat number three. He sat in the second seat and his dad in the third. Completely fine!! Through most of the movie he was fine. He had us sit in the very front row. Away from the crowd I assume. There were lights on either side of the room and the theater was just dark enough to see the screen. There were several other family’s there. Adrian recited speech, put his hands over his ears, walked up to the big screen to touch it, bounced, spun, jumped and played a game on my iPod while watching Cars 2. The amazing thing is no one said anything to him at all. I felt like I had won the lottery seriously acceptance is that amazing!! After the movie Adrian and Jade played a game of air hockey and Adrian had a two second meltdown when we told him no more air hockey and we left. My husband Steve and I started discussing what we needed to do next and Adrian just started screaming I want to go home! We weren’t surprised because he always does after an outing. I think too much time away from home makes him feel unsafe and is out of his comfort zone. Probably why he hates to be outside too. I asked him afterward what his favorite part of the movie is. He said the big Angry ship. I asked him how he knew the ship was angry he looked at me and made an angry face and sound! That’s priceless and a joy 😉
It was a very successful outing!! Now for information.
The theater we went to is The Grand Haven 9. Their website is:
Autism Society of America also has partnered with AMC theaters to offer sensory friendly viewings. Their website is: