Driving along the road today Charlie noticed this poster and got really excited, he still hasn’t quite got the hang of pointing things out with your finger as most typical kids do so it took me a while to see what it was he was so excited to show me.
Look mummy “Master yoda has ear defenders too!”
Before we got married, and right up until the kids came along there were two places that the hubby and I loved to spend most of our time the church and the cinema. Yeah I know, not exactly the wildest places to go, but we were happy.
When Lillie was born we pretty much carried on as we had before with church, and as she was old enough we would introduce her to the cinema. We had no plans to change the way we lived but once charlie came along things changed dramatically.
Every cinema trip was a disaster, Lillie would watch the film Charlie would do his best to escape, we had no idea why, We couldn’t leave because Lillie would cry, we couldn’t stay because Charlie would cry, or run or want to disappear up inside my top. There was no way on this earth that one adult could take the two children alone, it just wasn’t safe enough with them both going in opposite directions.
It wasn’t long before we found that every sunday morning was beginning to follow the same pattern as the cinema. Not being able to manage in church was a far worse problem for us than the cinema thing because thats where most of our friends were. Having a child who couldn’t manage to get through a sunday morning meant some serious social isolation was headed our way.
This time last year, after we had walked out of yet another church service in tears. We were lost and confused and praying that God would give us some insight as to what the hell was going on and how we could make things easier.
Then one day the answer came, I came across a book which changed my life, It was old and tatty and kind of out of date, there are now newer versions with more up to date information, but this is the book that I will remember forever, this is the book that finally held the answers we had spent four years looking for.
The book explained how the problems that we were seeing with the eating were related to all of the other things that we didn’t understand. It explained how not wanting to have his head touched was related to not wanting to wear socks in the car, which was related to not being able to cope with loud noises and on and on and on…
Suddenly it all started to come into focus.
Suddenly we had a way forward,
Suddenly there was hope.
Lots of you will have seen my kids sporting their ear defenders. This was one of the first and simplest changes we made, and one that has had the biggest impact on our ability to go out and have fun as a family.
Today is the first day of half term, this morning we went to the cinema and bowling alley, neither of these activities would have been imaginable without the ear defenders. Lillie doesn’t need hers as much as Charlie, but to keep things even we carry 2 pairs, they both wore them, the whole time, they were happy and comfortable and the whole trip was so easy.
Later in the afternoon we popped out to the shops, we were only going for milk so we didn’t take the ear defenders with us, when an ambulance came past both kids stopped and covered their ears, they waited for the ambulance to pass, I waited for them to be ready and then we all carried on as if nothing had happened, no fussing, no crying, no meltdowns.
They are learning how to self-regulate, this is progress.
Most cinemas now do autism friendly screenings, which is wonderful and so important, but we love to have the flexibility to be able to go where we want to when we want to, with only a few small adaptations so that our kids can be part of the fun too.