Isn’t this a great idea? This company has adapted the movie theater experience to be more accessible to people with special sensory needs. I came across this while looking up show times, and immediately thought of several families I know through books, blogs, or real life who would welcome it. Social expectations and sensory contrasts are lowered to help everyone relax. It won’t cure or treat anyone, and it doesn’t provide a necessity, but it’s still a nice way to care and welcome.
I can’t make a toned-down theater experience, but I can make sure that my Sunday school class is inclusive. I can invite that clingy mom to sit with her child in my class and listen long enough for her to tell me that she’s grieving another child. I can look acceptance at the parent of the violent child. Maybe later I’ll find out (as I did in one case) that she’s only recently came to a healthy family, or maybe I’ll find out that there was brain damage done at birth. Maybe I’ll never know. I shouldn’t have to hear the back story or the list of diagnoses to extend the tolerance and love I would if I knew.
Some of us are in a position to structure inclusion into an organization, but all of us can extend a welcome. While I’m glad companies are adapting to fit special needs, and I hope we see more inclusive events, anyone can make any movie, church service, outing, party more inclusive. We can’t always lower the sensory contrasts (although sometime we can and should), but we can broaden our expectations. If you expect that some children will have sensory issues, or behavior problems, or trauma triggers, you will often have your expectations met. I want to be the smile, not the stare, at that mom who is wearing her five-year-old, or the person who’s not fazed when a dad hands his seven-year-old a pacifier, or lets his son wear earphones in the grocery store. I want to pretend I don’t notice the antics of the too-old child behind me in church instead of glaring. It’s possible what I’m seeing is a parent doing the absolute best thing for his child. It’s even more probable that I’m seeing a parent do the best he can.