Friday, July 17, 2009

AMC Theatres has a program called "Sensory Friendly Films", which provides a special showing time for selected movies so that families who have a member with autism can attend the movies as a family. They make adjustments to the lights and sound and to their moving around policies so everyone has fun!

here is the link so you can see if they have a showing in your area. If not, just ask them to start the program.

I just talked to the Director, and he said that others are also accessing these showings. for example, older folks that think the movies are too loud, and that enjoy the children having fun go to these showings too. Doing great community services is good for the whole community. THANKS AMC.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I got a great story from a mom who is also an occupational therapist [my profession], and she agreed to let me share her story as an illustration of the impact of sensory processing on everyday life.

I read with interest the article on "Sensory Sensitivities of Gifted Children" (Gere, Capps, Mitchell & Grubbs, 2009) and your response (Dunn, 2009).

It has been interesting to see students who are gifted in music and also oversensitive to auditory input. Put them in aconcert in high school (obviously with training) and they are wonderful. My own daughter hated sudden, loud noises, (ie. sirens and fireworks) to the point where we avoided parades and fourth of July celebrations. However, she is gifted musically, and at the age of 17 months sang "Happy Birthday" to a friend, with correct pitch and words. She is currently studying classical voice. I would love to hear about the positives of people who are considered "non-typical". I think that too often children are put in the non-typical box and we forget that that unusual ways of perceiving, thinking and problem solving gives birth to new ideas.

What this person is expressing is that it is our uniqueness, our quirkiness that gives rise to innovation and creativity. We are on the wrong track if we think we have to 'normalize' these aspects of people's traits because we risk losing other very helpful aspects of their behavior as well. In the article referenced above, the authors cited the gifted literature, which hypothesizes that children’s sensory sensitivities might contribute to both their superior problem solving abilities and their challenges with social interactions.

It is not surprising that children who are great musically could also be sensitive to sounds. Perhaps that is how they notice the little nuances that others miss... we cannot indict one manifestation of their trait [i.e., their sensitivity], while hailing another aspect of it [i.e., their intense musical talent]. We have to find ways for the musical talent to flourish because of the sensitivity to details, while diminishing the impact of that same auditory sensitivity on other aspects of everyday life. We need to consider the risk of diminishing the sensitivity on the superior abilities.