The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

02 October 2009

Sensory- Friendly Movies Now a Reality!

By: Pinky O. Cuaycong

Sensory-Friendly Movies are designed to minimize adverse sensory experiences and maximize enjoyment. Low lights are left on during the show, sound volume is reduced, and film previews are left out. Children can move around and make noise, allowing them the freedom to enjoy the movies without social limitations to hamper their experience. Truly, the autism-friendly cinema or sensory-friendly movie is an innovative approach to autism and the movie experience, and yet, it has been in existence only for a very short time.

It was a cloudy, overcast Friday, a day before Typhoon Ondoy ravaged a lot of places in Metro Manila including Marikina, Pasig and Cainta and made history, we made a different kind of history.

We woke up unusually early that day, excited and buoyant. Even Alphonse, who wakes up late most days, didn’t complain when we woke him up. "It’s your day, anak," I whispered gently to this sleeping baby, all five feet and four inches of him. He stirred a little, blinked a few times, then, jumped immediately upright like a coiled spring. Hand in hand, Alphonse and I danced happily, albeit gingerly, while I sang "I’ve Got A Feeling.” (by Black Eyed Peas).

When SM Cinema 3 of The Block, North EDSA opened its doors to its patrons on Friday morning, the lines were long. One hundred fifty (150) students from different schools and institutions Bridges, ALRES, Cradles of Learners, Immaculate Concepcion SPED, New Hope, Wise Light and Commonwealth Elementary SPED, all accompanied by their teachers, parents, or caregivers, filled the cinema lobby. Alphonse and I were also invited. Our very first movie felt like a real date! Click here to know more about the launching.

Participants of the Sensory-Firendly Movie
As expected, our children screamed and cried, and yet, they also laughed. Some walked around and roamed the aisles, yet many more stayed in their seats. Alphonse hooted many times, jumped up and down on his seat, stood up twice to walk around and use the restroom, and flapped his arms more times than Up’s (Disney-Pixar) colorful but flightless bird, Kevin. Still, he sat through almost the entire movie and behaved like a seasoned moviegoer, munching on a bucket of popcorn. He gave up only around 15 minutes before the end when the sound of barking dogs unnerved him. Not bad for his very first cinema experience.

I spent more time watching Alphonse than I did the movie, gazing at his face as they expressed emotions, watching his eyes light up in excitement. In truth, I had tears in my eyes the entire time. Holding my son’s hands in the semi-darkness of the movie theater, I felt my heart almost burst with happiness.

I think Alphonse and I are definitely luckier than Ms. Ross and her daughter. We didn’t even have to wait for support from Autism Society Philippines and SM Committee on Disability Affairs. They took it upon themselves to make this possible for my son and for many children like him who have not had the privilege of enjoying a simple movie even once. They made this dream come true, and in the process, made autism history come alive for us. It is this kind of commitment, compassion, and kinship that make their joint endeavors truly worth supporting. Click here to read the whole article.

Come and be a part of more history in the making with Autism Society Philippines’ 11th National Conference on Autism on October 24-25, 2009 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia and Post Conference on October 26 & 25 at the Sky Dome, SM North EDSA.

Pinky Cuaycong is Kittymama, full time mom of two boys (a 16-year-old high school junior and a 14-year-old with profound autism), part-time writer, and blogger. In Okasaneko Chronicles, she writes about her life’s deepest passions: her husband of 18 years, her teenage sons, autism advocacy, and Hello Kitty.


Chet said...

Hi Pinky,
I'd like to congratulate you for a beautiful work that you do with your advocacy on Autism. It's a privilege living in a country where the weak are supported, not rejected. I'd like to share with you what an article that I read in New York Times about prenatal Autism Diagnosis in the U.S. and thus eliminate them. I'm truly glad here in the Philippines, we are surrounded with so much love and acceptance.

Sincerely yours,

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