Did I ever tell you Declan used to HATE whispering? My goodness, nothing would set him off more than if I tried to whisper something to him.
He would scream, cover his ears and of course, YELL.
When he did not have words, he could still make sounds. I knew what some of the sounds meant. “NO!” was always there. And could always be heard with other cries and screams when I tried to tell him something in a whisper.
He does not understand, “Inside voice” or “Shhh!” There is never a time or place where you can’t make sounds.
As you can imagine, that cuts us off from going to places designed for silence.
Thankfully, lots of establishments have picked up on the need to include everyone and have made accommodations.
Is there an AMC near you? AMC has Sensory Friendly films where they turn the lights up and turn the sound down. During these Sensory Friendly show times guests can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing. These show times are perfect for Declan.
In the past, I had tried to take the kids to a regular movie on $1 movie day. Declan of course didn’t last and I had to walk him up and down the hallway of the theater so my older 2 kids could watch the movie. When the movie was over a woman came and told me my son was loud and distracting during the movie. I stopped taking the kids to $1 movie day.
There isn’t much we do as a family. But the sensory friendly films offer an opportunity for us to get out, and get out together. Thank you AMC Sensory Friendly!
Another tough one. I have had to sit in the car and send my older kids into the library to pick out books. The library is not a place that is easy for Declan to go into. There are always people reading, working on computers, obviously looking at books, QUIETLY.
Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected is a great resource to help connect individuals and their families on the spectrum to their local libraries. I have to commend the library on focusing on inclusion. Honestly, as a parent of children with special needs, I find it very upsetting when I know I am standing outside an establishment that I cannot take my family into. Libraries and Autism provides information and training videos to libraries to learn how to include the autism population.
Many churches provide a special needs classroom. The church we used to attend had a wonderful special needs classroom with special needs instruction to still deliver a spiritual message in a way the individuals could understand.
Unfortunately our special needs classroom closed. So we are in the process of finding a new church to meet our family’s needs. But I have found 3 churches in our vicinity that also focus on inclusion.
I know this is not one you think of, but boy oh boy, every time I have to schedule a Dr’s visit for anyone of my kids, I think of the waiting room.
The waiting room is a quiet place. Some people talk, sure. But not like Declan. Declan does not whisper, let alone have an inside voice. Declan does not sit. And every week we have to go to a Dr., the orthodontist, a therapy appointment or a dentist. To help prepare Declan we use the old faithful, social story. The social story will help prepare Declan for what to expect ahead, and will give us some time. But honestly, I know all the hallways in these establishments. That is where we run around and make our sound until we are called.
As a family, we are limited to the places that we can go together. There is always stress around every outing. The stress always puts pressure on our family and stress fights happen. We have to prepare for each event so carefully. Knowing that some establishments have prepared a place for us to go that is prepared to assist, support and accommodate our special needs family is tremendous. Especially locations designed for silence, like the movies, where my kids can go be themselves.
What facilities lend to the special needs community in your area? Let me know!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/47823583@N03/8257544793″>”Reserved for Parents with Screaming Kids” Parking Spot</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>