This past weekend began with a trip to the AMC sensory friendly showing of the movie Muppets Most Wanted. Throughout the movie, I had sensed Philip was not as into this movie as some of the others. I wasn’t sure why. I myself didn’t find it too enjoyable because they had the volume turned down too low for me to hear comfortably with all the noise around me from the people watching. I had to strain my ears to concentrate on what was being said in the film. Philip also kept telling me he had to go to the bathroom which annoyed me.
When we got home I decided to have Philip practice typing by giving me his impressions of the movie. In the past he has written a movie review, but this time he took his writing a different direction. I asked Philip, “What did you think of the movie?”
Philip typed out his response with my support on his forearm giving backward resistance and resetting his arm to a neutral position with each letter. The typing was much slower than his spelling on the letterboard as he would often miss his target key one key off and self-correct his mistakes. I did not provide any verbal cuing except an occasional comment to think about the target letter before aiming after several missed hits. (Philip’s answers in bold)
Philip typed: I liked it. I thought I pleaded less to our noise to tension in the theater. I feel peoples tension a lot. Under the duress of the territorial pull of the theater youth who do not have right to do fc or rpm.
(Philip explained the above statement a day later on his letterboard, "I am sensitive to peoples emotions and it sometimes overwhelms me." So you can feel the emotion of the people in the theater? "Yes. They have tough lives.")
I continued the initial conversation on the letterboard, Philip's primary mode of commnication, and asked Philip, “What is your experience at the sensory friendly films?”
I feel stressed bc I am sad kids cannot communicate.
“Which movies do you prefer to go to then, regular showings (we had seen Lego movie at a regular showing over mid-winter break) or sensory friendly?”
I then asked Philip if he wanted to write a movie review or do a lesson. He spelled on his board, “I want you to teach me a lesson.” “On what?” I asked. “About facing fears,” he spelled. I wasn’t sure how to come up with a lesson on that topic on the fly, so I resorted to my go-to, fall-back lesson planner, Brain Pop on my iPad. I looked up the lessons in the health section and saw there was one on Stress. That seems the closest in category so we watched the lesson together and Philip took the quiz and got 80%.
I planned to use the lesson as a springboard for typing practice. I thought Philip might simply type answers to reiterate what was talked about in the lesson, but again, Philip had his own ideas.
At his desk with the iPad, I asked Philip, “What is a synonym for stress?” Philip typed: autism.
“Name me some symptoms of stress.” Philip typed: you utter nonsense too much, intermittent petulance, intense tantrums, urination too much
As Philip began to show irritation, I asked Philip what was the matter. He spelled, I am tired from typing.
Later on I asked Philip if he wanted to continue our discussion on stress and whether he wanted to type or use his letterboard. “Yes” he wanted to continue and with his “letterboard.”
Philip added the following symptoms of stress: head banging, so pitiful whining, mouth objects. I am tense about sounds. I am petulant to accept help. I am leaving in so far that nothing matters except escaping fear. I am kind of mean to people by pulling their clothes.
“What are some things that cause you stress?”
Not talking, tons of noise, typing on iPad. When I have to get a haricut. To sit still is so hard (in regards to haircuts). I might get hurt. Each day I am tore apart by tons of nots. (“What do you mean by that?”) I cannot do a lot of things normal kids can do.
“What are some things you want to do that normal kids do?”
I want to learn normally. I want to play sometimes too. Make friends.
“What things help deal with stress or make you feel better?”
Patience. Meeting a goal to increase independence. I am liking (my teacher’s) exercises to address learning. Stories about people overcoming. Not fearing the future. The likes on facebook. The notes from people reading my blog. Each day mom talking to me. Time to veryis (various) teachings about different topics to learn about the world.
Our first sensory friendly film seen (Planes) from last summer