Cade was 2 months old when he, my two girls and I went to his first movie.
My plan after Cade’s birth was to be able to spend some quality family time with all my children during maternity leave. However, after Cade was born with Down Syndrome, severe jaundice and erratic blood counts, he and I spent a lot of time going to and from the hospital and doctor’s visits the first two months.
That first movie was the most calm experience, with Cade sleeping most of the time and not making a sound. Thankfully, my daughters and I were able to enjoy going to the movies and reclaim a little normalcy.
But that was the last time we were able to do that type of activity with Cade.
As he got a little older, he would cry continuously if a room became unexpectedly dark or sounds were loud. Car rides at night were not pleasant, and movies were completely out of the question.
When Cade was 6, my youngest daughter and I took him to see a children’s movie. Everything seemed fine … until the lights dimmed and the previews started. Why oh why did they have a loud and scary preview?
I stepped to the hallway, calmed him, and he fell asleep, probably from the stress of the moment. We were able to watch the rest of the movie peacefully, at least until he woke up in the last 5 minutes of the movie.
Out of respect for other moviegoers and for Cade’s (and our) sake, we haven’t tried this again.
But is there hope, perhaps? While Googling for area attractions and shopping in Arlington, TX, I discovered one of the movie theaters has “Sensory Friendly Films” where the lights are on, the sound is turned down and the audience can move about. The website states this environment was created in partnership with the Autism Society, but this also can be beneficial to other special needs children.
Imagine my excitement that these types of needs are being recognized and a business is providing families with access to entertainment that otherwise would be clearly difficult to enjoy together as a family.
Continuing my search, I discovered “Sensory Friendly Films” are also available at these Oklahoma locations:
- Quail Springs 24
- Crossroads 16
Click here for the website that tells more about locations nationwide participating in this program. However, be sure and contact individual theaters to confirm time and dates, since they are subject to change.
My only wish now is that this program will be expanded beyond once a month.
It’s definitely something my son and I will plan to attend.
– Linda Lynn
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This morning’s Roundup assembly was pretty special at Edmond’s West Field Elementary School.
For the first time, the children from the developmentally delayed classes were the presenters.
Their teachers were nervous, the students were orderly on the risers, wearing Dr. Seuss hats made from red and white paper.
My son, Cade, was one of the younger students involved and was placed on the front row.
When I came into the gym, he ran over to me to give me a hug — a couple of times. So, I had to leave and then sneak back in to sit in another location.
Friday morning “Roundup” is a gathering of all the teachers and students. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance and school creed, listen to announcements and sing songs. It’s a good way to end the week and recognize students and classes for their weekly accomplishments.
Each week, a different group of students helps to present the program.
As the students said their names and directed the gathering on what was coming next, it was moving to see their excitement, anticipation and delivery of their speaking parts.
When Cade said his name, his voice was loud and sweet. His language development is still “developing,” but you couldn’t mistake the way he proudly spoke into the microphone.
I smiled and laughed a little, giddy with the excitement of seeing my baby perform in front of a group. Then, for a moment, tears came to my eyes, a flash flood of emotions coming over me.
But I recovered and was able to enjoy this simple — but very important — moment of the day.
Afterward, the teachers were asking questions, “How did they sound? Could you hear them?” and saying, “They did such a good job!”
It was a milestone for the school. It’s not only good for the students who presented, but also for the students in the audience. And good for the teachers. And good for the parents attending.
And good for the community.
These lovely children are a part of the community, and the public display of their talents and dedication is a lesson in how they, too, can contribute to the activities in everyday life.
It was a proud and moving moment for me.
My daughter Kaci was squatting on the ground next to my son at homeplate. She was helping her 3-year-old brother hold onto the heavy bat and swing at the soft ball perched on a batter’s tee.
It was Cade’s first time to play baseball in a real baseball diamond. Smaller in size, with soft rubber under foot, this field was just right for Cade and his teammates’ occasional spills.
After some encouragement from another mother whose daughter had played in the Anyone Can Softball league, I signed Cade up to participate.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I imagined Cade either grinning from ear to ear – or screaming and kicking. Luckily, on Sunday, Cade was all smiles as he ran after the ball that he and his sister had just hit. Then, with a little guidance, he was running to first base.
This was not only a new experience for Cade, but also one for our family. It was encouraging to sit in the bleachers with the rest of the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who were there to cheer on their Mustang or Rowdies teams.
This year, the Anyone Can group was unable to play at its previous field, but it has been embraced by The Miracle League of Edmond.
– Linda Lynn
We have a ritual at our house. It involves picking up his toys several times throughout the day. Why? He loves to throw his toys and books across the room.
He’s actually better than he used to be. His tendency to throw is common among some Down Syndrome children. Physical therapists have said he did this because he liked the sensation of throwing and that we should direct his impulse toward acceptable items – bean bags, socks, soft objects – and have him aim them toward a basket.
His aim is really good, too. A pink paper fish with a colorful tail of streamers had hung in a doorway for several years – until this past month when Cade zeroed in on the floating fish and successfully knocked it from its place after several times of pummeling it with balls, cars, pillows and other toys.
We should stop him, and we do, but sometimes we just give out. And it’s these times when we say cade, Cade, CADE! … and then duck when a remote or favorite book comes hurling toward our heads. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re not so quick or we’re oblivious to the incoming plastic missiles.
But we love him. And, our living room will continue to look like a whirlwind just plowed through. (I wonder what my daughters’ friends’ mothers must think about my little pit. – If only they had stopped by three minutes earlier)
We continue to try to correct him and encourage him to restrain from chunking the DVDs, newspapers and toys across the room.
It’s encouraging that he’s better. His throwing habit has evolved into mostly tossing across the floor or carrying toys from one location to another.
And, also promising is his willingness to clean up while he sings the “Clean Up” song.
But don’t be surprised by the socks and toys thrown in our entertainment center, behind the furniture and pushed beneath the couch if you drop by. Oh, and, Duck! — Linda Lynn