We just hit a new mark in Damion’s movie theater ability as he sat through his first ever 3D movie! We were happy considering if you rewind back to just a few years ago, we were stressed to the max at even the idea of taking Damion to a movie theater. The thought of him being quiet and sitting still for long enough to not disturb a crowded room of other paying customers filled me with plenty of anxiety, but it was a goal of mine to eventually have going to the movies as a family an option for us. So, we found some alternative avenues to trial and practice this type of outing. We took him to a late-night drive-in movie (where noise is a lot less of an issue). Then we did a few private theatre rentals and invited a lot of friends to experience the theater without a room full of strangers.
He got pretty good at understanding how he was supposed to behave at the movies, I’m not going to say he was perfectly quiet the whole time through, but in comparison, not worse than many other kids I have been around at movie theaters. We decided to take the next step and just go to the movies like any other family. I still didn’t let it be a free for all, spur of the moment type of visit. I was choosey about the spot we would sit, the time we choose to go, and the movie we picked to watch. By that I mean we always aim for a movie that has been out for a couple weeks at least (not opening weekend) as well as an “off time” to see the movie, a seat in the back row and preferably with no one in front of him (in case he stands up or wiggles too much and kicks the seat), and choosing a kid’s movie that he would at least be somewhat interested in.
Even though we don’t go to the movies too often, he has stayed pretty good at knowing what he is supposed to do. So recently, we decided to take it one step further and try our hands at taking him to a 3D movie. Damion has been an avid Shrek fan for many years, and when we saw that the new Puss in Boots movie was coming out with a 3D option, we decided it would be a good time to give it a try.
I had a feeling that he would either love the 3D aspect of the movie, seeing things pop out at him, or he would hate it. Potentially putting ourselves in a tough spot because if he didn’t like it, or didn’t want to wear the glasses, then keeping him interested at watching a blurry movie seemed like a tough sell. Overall, he did really good. I had to remind him to keep his glasses on a few times, but nothing too involved. I won’t say that he seemed more astonished by the movie in 3D than a regular showing, until maybe the credit reel which is a visual stim that he likes to look at anyway.
Visiting the movies with Damion can still feel a bit more stressful than what we are used to with our other two who do really well at the movies (as long as there is an abundance of popcorn). But we have come a very long way in just the past couple of years on this type of family outing. Even with requiring those additional stipulations to ensure our visit goes smooth, it seems like a night and day difference from where we started. If you have been aspiring to be able to take your family to the movies and worry that your child on the spectrum would not do well, I hope that seeing our road map with smalls steps will help you find a way to this type of outing becoming a possibility for your family too.