A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

3-Minute Read


Last night Tam asked “to go to the pictures to see Angry Birds 2”. Plain as day, best speech so far. So chuffed that we went online and checked what was on at the pictures. No luck. Angry Birds 2 starts 2nd August.
As we were looking Tam pointed at Spiderman - Far from home. “Go to the pictures, Spiderman far from home”, again as clear as can be. Wow. Ok Tam we go to the pictures and see Spiderman.

So after 3 hours sleep Tam is up and by default so am I. He asks again “go to pictures Spiderman Far from Home”. Yes we are going to the pictures.

Part of me is starting to worry. It’s not a special autistic viewing. It’s actually on in one of those 270 degree surround viewings. Over the next couple of hours I start worrying more about the sound (why are cinema’s so loud), the surrond screen and lots of other people being in the cinema. All triggers to a meltdown. The other part of me was so excited for Tam as he asked for this and his language was so clear. This is important to Tam, the effort to speak the sentence and be so clear means it is important.

We arrived at the cinema, bought our tickets. Tam hangs onto to them so tight and inspects them and we read every word on them. We have our second breakfast in the cinema before heading to the screen.

Well worry number one is done, we are the only people in the screen. The adverts start and the second worry gets worse. The sound is soooooo loud. Tam is flinching and sticking his fingers in his ears. I want to leave the sound is so loud.

Finally, with Tam jamming his fingers in his ears a demo of the 270 degree screen starts which is very disorientating, the feeling of the room tilting is worrying for how Tam is doing. I am watching for the meltdown.

Half way through the film and Tam is settled and engaged. The 270 degree parts of the film are more a reason to look around than meltdown. His fingers pop in his ears only during the louder parts of the action sequences. I start to relax and enjoy the film. The 270 degree sequences are few and left me wondering why the studios go to the expense and trouble. Also why are the tickets 50% more?

As usual we have to sit all the way through the credits, right to the very very end.

Now Tam stands up with a big grin and wraps his arms around my neck and say “go home now”.

My boy always surprises me. Everyday he manages to do it. Today has been a good day.

I hope yours was good.

Alan and Tam

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