'Autism in Real Life' (and at the movies...)

Last Friday Jon's movie 'Dan in Real Life', starring Steve Carrel, opened in the theaters across the country. It was very exciting for our whole family and Jon's parents came in from Philadelphia for the premiere. In the late afternoon hours leading up to the premiere as we were all getting ready, our nerves were growing frayed by the minute. It's always a dilemma when it comes to autism and any big event; a balancing act between not wanting to leave your child with autism out and not wanting to totally stress him out. Would Dov be too tired and get irritable and crabby? Would the whole thing be too overwhelming for him - the lights, the noise and the crowds? Would he make a lot of noise during the screening?

​When we arrived at the theater, Hollywood Blvd. was blocked off for the event and the famed red carpet was rolled out along the sidewalk. I had my camera handy and took a few pictures of the marquee good thing I did, since they confiscated my camera at the door. (​click here​ for what pictures I managed to get).

​A long time ago I decided that however much Dov could participate in an event, I would consider this a success, a triumph even. The important thing was to include him to the degree that he could tolerate it and hope that he would enjoy himself along the way; to make the experience a success by accepting how ever much Dov could tolerate being a part of things. If he could dress up and look handsome in his suit jacket, that would be great. If he could ride with us in the limo that would be fun. If he could walk with us down the red carpet under the bright lights and flashing cameras and hold it together, that would be extraordinary. And if he could sit in his seat in the audience long enough for the movie to start that would be a miracle. We worried about the seating would we be able to get an aisle seat for Dov in case he had to get up and leave suddenly? Would he throw his beads and would they glance off the head of some perplexed studio executive a few rows up?

​Dov lasted a good thirty minutes in his seat after the movie began. By then it was going on eight o'clock. He had done really well, I told him in the lobby, giving him a big hug before he left with our babysitter. I was glad he was there for however long he could be. He could see the whole movie that weekend at a matinee showing where he could jump up from his seat and throw his beads as much as he wanted to.

Posted on 11/03/2007 at 19:35:35

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