As my son has gotten older, and his many years of autism therapy have made it possible, we have started going to movies. Not just any movies for my son J. Oh, yes. He loves art documentaries and I’m lucky for that, because I love them too. Recently, a friend invited me to attend a documentary film festival (“Doc Days”) in Austin that he helped organize.
I took J and he LOVED it. We saw the Gospel According to Andre. He couldn’t contain himself. When I see him start rocking in his chair, and talking to himself, I know there’s a lot of creative soup about to bubble over! And then we have to leave for him to draw, and write, and imagine. Wouldn’t that be fun?
He had to leave in the middle of the movie because he said, “I am so inspired right now! I need to go home and draw.” So, we got up and left. HA!
The power of film is to inspire and connect. My son tells me he is inspired by his physical movements more than his words. There are many ways to be connected to art and it’s important that all of us accept the way people with autism express their happiness!
I’m excited by the recent additions of more and more programs offered by cultural institutions to provide services to differing types of disabilities. For years, ADA has meant wheelchair accessibility, and that’s very important, but also important is meeting the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, those with visual impairments and other types of disabilities beyond providing a ramp into a building. Speaking from the perspective of a parent with a child with autism, I can tell you that my son benefits ENORMOUSLY from cultural institutions like libraries, museums, and concerts when he can manage the sensory issues. I’m happy to share that our local museum the Thinkery here in Austin has provided several days a year specifically geared to the needs of children with autism and other sensory issues. It’s a great way to enjoy things that typical families take for granted. We all want our kids to enjoy being kids. These community initiatives allow us as parents to help provide that. If you know of a good cultural program that benefits people with an intellectual or developmental disability in your city that you’d like to share, please feel free to add a comment and let us know about it.