Cinema, take 2….action.

Hello my lovely Bloggy friends

Yesterday we had a great day.

Those who have been following my blog for a while will remember the nightmare we went through with the dreaded cinema trip. Basically the mainstream school my daughter goes to talked me into letting them take my *CAL on a school trip to the cinema to see Percy Jackson. I knew this was a bad idea but doubted myself, and my mothering instinct and listened to others.

If you are new to reading Alienhippy you might want to read this post before reading on. Just follow this link.

The DREADED Cinema Trip

*CAL has been terrified of the cinema since that trip

Now I don’t just mean scared, I mean terrified. Just the mention of cinema and she would freeze. This has stopped many family outings and has caused her a lot of upset and feelings of failure. In no way do I blame my girl, but I have been kicking myself for not listeing to my gut feelings and standing up to people who talked me into this. It has however made me see that I KNOW my daughter better than anyone else. I am the one who looks out for her every need. I am the one who helps her through the times she finds hard and I am the one who loves her unconditionally and more than I can ever express.

I didn’t listen to my Mommy instinct and was talked into it. It has taken 20 months to actually get my little girl to walk into a cinema. I will listen to my mothering heart in future. I let her down and I won’t do that again. Unless you are Aspie and have her difficulties you cannot possibly understand what she goes through. I know her ways because she is like me.

I’m going to share how we did it

*CAL is 11 years old, she is diagnosed now with Aspergers and Dyspraxia. Like most people on the spectrum she has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) EFD (Executive Functioning Disorder) and mild OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as well as lots of other quirks that have been given initials and names.

You know…I REALLY dislike the word “disorder”

“Disorder” is such a negative word, so let me break it down to the positive.

Let’s get rid of the word “disorder” and just see how we go. My girl struggles with processing anything with her senses. The cinema is a full on sensory blowout for someone as sensitive as my girl. My girl struggles to execute her decision making and can be driven by fear. A full sensory blowout can make her function irrationally. The fear and pain to her system can make her run at a wall, scream and become cold with shock. As you can imagine an experience like the cinema is a situation that needs to be handled in her time, when she is ready and with lots of loving support.

Now let’s look at the OCD a little bit.

In my family OCD is everywhere. I have learned that mine is mostly affected by fear. Conquer the fear and the OCD doesn’t go away but is more manageable. *CAL’s fears are all connected with the cinema trip that the school took her on. The film was not *CAL friendly, it was too dark. The films she had seen before with me were all animated and brightly coloured and we still had sensory issues but we was handling them. The fear and embarrassment of being with her school friends pushed her to trying to conform but the sensory explosion triggered her and it was just too much.

20 months of working on this

We have cinema days very often at home where I turn the lights down, turn the volume up and pretend to have a home cinema. We call it movie snuggle time. I love this time and we both love films.

Yesterday she sat through a whole film at the cinema.

My sister came up with a BRILLIANT idea.

Her boys, Little*Jah and *EJ also have all the same difficulties as *CAL. My amazing sis found the answer.

I am always saying to my little sis, “Use their special interests bab, that’s what I do with my kids.” but had I thought to do this with *CAL’s fear of the cinema…NO, I hadn’t.

Both my little nephews have picked up a love of Sonic the hedgehog from their big cousin so my sis has used this to help conquer their fears.

Imagine this, it was so cute.

Three spectrummy kids sat in a line each wearing a Sonic the hedgehog cap, shades, holding soft toys over their ears and having a torch just in case.

My *CAL took her mini Sonic and Tails and her wind up torch that she kept on her lap. The shades go on at the beginning, we got there early when the lights were still on and all the kids put on their shades to get used to the dark before it goes dark. Then when the lights go down the shades come off and soft toys are stuffed over ears for the advertisements.

*CAL really doesn’t like the advertisement and we had a few panic attacks in this time. But we stuck at it, we held Sonic and Tails in place over ears, focused on the torch I was shining on her lap and then they were gone…those nasty loud horrible advertisements.

The cinema we went to has a special each Saturday

It only costs Β£1 a person, both adults and kids. They play DVD’s which is great for this because part of *CAL’s anxiety is seeing something new, something unpredictable. She feels safe with repetition. We are battling the sensory by playing it safe. Yesterday we saw a new film for *CAL it was the Chipmunks in Chipwrecked. *CAL loves the Chipmunk movies so I knew this one was going to be a winner from the start.

Once we have the sensory covered and no hiccups we will move on to new films, films that she is not used to. I know she will do this and I am so very proud of her. She said to her Auntie and to her Great Auntie that she loved the film but didn’t like the adverts.

The way I am seeing this, for Β£2 we can afford to walk out if it is ever too much for her and we can come back and conquer it another week. Baby steps forward always in her time.

For her downtime after the cinema

*CAL went to my Aunties for her favourite meal and a chill-out time. She played some old video games on a very old Gameboy for a while. Then after that she made music on objects from around my Aunties flat. She has never played drums, she plays piano and violin. I was pretty amazed at the sounds she found using a pair of knitting needles and a DVD rack.

Here is a video of her finding peace in the music.


11 thoughts on “Cinema, take 2….action.

  1. You know all those things with the attached word “disorder” I have come to see in my life as an extreme love for “order” and as a person who loves things in order so much how could it possibly be me that is in “disorder” . Sometimes just have to flip things around. Do they have spectrum sensitive movies in England? They do over here in America not often but they leave the lights up, the volume not as loud and, no judgement for getting out of your seat and walking around or making noise. it is a great concept for spectrummy folks, not many theatres do it and not very often but might be a great option for your daughter, and nephews πŸ™‚

  2. Leesy you are the bestest Mum ever!! And Yea!! CAL! YEA! This is so awesome! Yes, I am clapping and bouncing in my chair. Yippie!! Yes, listen to your “Mommy Instincts” they never steer you wrong. πŸ™‚

    Love you so much!

  3. Had a great day yesterday and think Cal made a massive achievement. Loved our music therapy. Cal really is talented. Love you all xxxx

  4. I know you like comments, so I won’t just like this post. but eeeerrrrrrmmmmm what can I say…. I totally loved the cinema yesterday, we had a great time especially the happy dance at the end, we so should have filmed the kids doing that together sis πŸ™‚ Love you all very much. xxxx

  5. Hello! What a great success, well done to all, especially CAL for working so hard to do this πŸ™‚ Our cinema does Autism friendly screenings for children every couple of months. Don’t think they have an adult one, they should really.
    We’ve never been ourselves as my youngest is a massive big screen fan and the eldest isn’t that bothered and would rather have a dvd at home, unless its Starwars! It also helps having a dad in the industry! But as I understand, they made changes after parental consultation. One thing, very cleverly thought out, I understand the Dolby sound is set differently so is not omni-directional, instead the sound comes from the front, where the vision is, to avoid some sensory processing confusion. Its not going to solve everything, but even I find that a bit disconcerting, when a spaceship suddenly feels like its about to land in my right ear but it is in front of my eyes. Then again, I am apparently a little bit Aspie!
    The lights are up slightly, there are knowledgeable, understanding (and extra) staff, I think they get to take a gift home too should the kids want to. Or the adults, heehee, If you wanted to wait till ads are over, they would accommodate that in an eye blink. I understand they limit the numbers too. Its an Odeon chain cinema, but a small one, so maybe there’s one in your area! Oh and its cheap too, think one free adult per child on spectrum. Not sure about siblings/friends etc, So..don’t know if it will be any sue to you to know that, but thought it was helpful all round.

    I sometimes use the word re-order rather disorder, as that’s what it is, a re-ordering. Its not a worse or better order, just and alternative order. It’s one the world at large does not always accommodate, though. I love the ‘societal’ model of autism, that is it is only disabling down to the world around the person, which is designed around some vague societal norm. Sigh..the world will catch up one day. while things like autism friendly screenings might first seem to be segregation, it isn’t really. I think it’s a grand idea. Its like an affirmation of the differences, that’s all they are, a different set of consumer requirements, so they are providing for it. Just as any service/user industry should provide for their customers. Just would like to see it not as a ‘special’ service but as a standard along side the general screenings. And autism friendly’ adult screenings too. Now after cinema comes…the rest of the outside world! its a start I guess!

    I loved the blog all together, I like the way you title sections! I will watch the percussion later, everyone is sleeping and earache means I can’t use the headphones. Sorry for going on and on…I always do as you know! πŸ™‚

  6. Congratulations on that success! We have the same issues with Stephanie and the cinema. However, she actually sat with me all the way through “Amazing Grace” a few years ago, and never once complained. I would have thought she would have been bored silly, but she enjoyed the movie.

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