Monday, November 28, 2011
max's first trip to the movies.
Max received his diagnosis of autism 3 years ago. He has had non-stop therapy ever since, and his progress has been incredible (but not a miracle – just a lot of hard work). Even so, we still underestimate him. Last week, my friend Tracy and I were discussing taking her kids and Cam to see the new Muppets movie and she asked "Can Max come?". My brain was quick to say "No, he isn't ready". Instead I said "Let me talk with his therapists and Sarah (Max's respite worker) and see what they think".
Sarah was all for it, and Max's therapists had practice movie sessions with Max – with popcorn and everything – to help prepare him for the dark room, high volume and sitting in a chair. On the day of the movie, I bought the tickets online and Cam and I left early to make sure we could get good seats and to buy popcorn. Sarah planned to arrive with Max after the previews. I was a nervous wreck. Sarah and I had decided before the movie that no matter what happened we would view it as a success and a stepping stone. If he didn't like it and wanted to leave right away, then that would be okay. Of course, I was really hoping he'd love it.
As the previews rolled, my stomach was in knots, until I saw Max and Sarah enter the theatre. I was so proud of him as he made his way up the stairs and sat down next to me. His eyes were as big as saucers and he immediately found his popcorn and turned to watch the movie. I didn't watch much of the movie myself, I was too busy watching Max watch the movie. At some point, Cam told me she wanted to sit next to her brother, so we switched seats. Max didn't even mind when she started reaching over to his seat and touching his arm.
Right before the credits rolled, Max turned to Sarah and said "I want to go to the car". I love that he requested to leave so nicely and that he knew that he could ask to go when he had had enough. He watched the movie for over 100 minutes! As we left the theatre I started to cry (tears of joy!). We have all worked so very hard with Max, it is wonderful to see that when we prepare him and set him up for success, he can enjoy the same things other kids enjoy, which is really all I've ever wanted.