On Friday the 13th, we ventured out for a family first. While Anne enjoyed a day in the land of spoiled, aka the grandparent’s house, we took Beth to her first movie. What made this day even more special was that it was also my first Blogger event. We were not sure how Beth would do, but we decided it was time to push the boundaries of our family comfort zone and at least try to attend the full event. If it proved too much for her sensory system, then we would simply make apologies and leave, and do what was necessary to help her regulate.
With any event or outing, preparation is key to a successful venture, this is even more important when you have a child with Special Needs. Preparation for us is a little more time consuming because our Autistic girl has significant sensory issues as well, and her Sensory seeking/avoiding behaviors can fluctuate very quickly, so we must be prepared for just about anything. That is when the research began.
I accepted the invitation and registered for the event. We would be attending a screening of The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure, a new interactive movie coming out Oogust 29th. Not only were we going to be able to view the entire movie six weeks before its release, but the Bloggers would also have a roundtable discussion with creator Kenn Viselman concerning Quality Family Programming. I did not want my excitement over this unique opportunity to cloud my judgment where Beth’s capabilities were concerned, so I began exploring the movie.
First up was the website: www.oogieloves.com. As soon as it came on the screen both my girls were mesmerized. I cannot even tell you how many times we watched the trailer and ran the gamut of the song/video selection: www.oogieloves.com/songs-videos.html. Now at this point most parents would be running from the room screaming, but I was intrigued, and my girls were obviously interested as well. So I explored more and found something amazing, a Parent Guide to the movie. VERY Cool! If you want to learn about Lovelyloveville and its residents, while understanding the experiences Kenn and the rest of his team envision for families, please read this: www.oogieloves.com/Oogieloves_parent_guide.pdf. After reading the parent guide and watching the preview/videos many more times, I was sold and we were definitely going to this Au-Some event.
We arrived at the movie theater and there were already many families there. There was a buzz of excitement as the kids saw the displays, crafts, food, etc… Henry and I had a light, healthy breakfast snack while Beth, who never eats in such a busy environment, simply played with her ball and drank her water. Then it was time to split up.
Henry and Beth stayed with the other caregivers, kids and counselors, while I and the other Bloggers went with Kenn and his team. He told me that they could not be in the room for long periods, because it was too loud for Beth, plus she was getting overloaded from all the people and excitement. Therefore, they spent most of the 45 minutes playing and running around the theater lobby, thankfully AMC has a very cool lobby!
I spent my 45 minutes listening to Kenn and Elaine talk; I was filled with skepticism, humor, hope, etc… Although I wanted to believe everything they were saying, I could not forget that he is a marketing genius and knows how to sell his product. For all my doubt and skepticism, I must say I was won over by the end of the meeting, but decided to reserve final judgment until seeing the movie, because I thought it best to let the product speak for itself.
We collected our families and headed to the theater where we would view the movie. Beth was very excited and pretty regulated thanks to all the sensory input from exploring the lobby with such zeal. We settled into our seats, which she was amazed by; she loved that is she scooted back it would squeeze her. She LOVES to be squished; it provides great proprioceptive input for her system. She also loved the dark room, bright colors on the screen and surround sound. Fortunately this day, she was in full-on Sensory Seeking mode and was eating up all the wonderful craziness. She settled happily into her chair with her Veggie Puffs and Popcorn. Although she said the popcorn was “Yuck!” she ate the entire container of puffs in about twenty minutes. Coincidentally that was as long as she was able to stay in her seat too. So we got up and started moving around. We spent the rest of the movie going up and down the stairs, dancing, trying out new seats and just running off some steam. Amazingly enough, due to all the physical activity she was allowed to have during the viewing, the movie actually held her interest. She LOVED it! When the other children would get up to sing and dance with their on-screen friends, she would stop, then start flapping and bouncing. In case you don’t know, we have a saying in the Autistic Community, “I get flappy when I’m happy!” Several days later, if she sees her poster, she has to watch the clips online and actually says “Oogieloves” and starts singing, which for a child who barely was able to communicate a year ago is HUGE.
I can definitely say that everything Kenn spoke about in our discussion was spot on, and he truly delivered on all his promises of pure family entertainment that is truly G-rated. This movie teaches children to make friends with peers of all backgrounds, love and accept everyone, and embrace teamwork; the characters do this and more, simply because it is the right thing to do. Henry and I really enjoyed the movie as well and talked about it most of the afternoon, it was VERY well done and the best part was every child was free to just be a kid enjoying a movie without typical “adult” rules. Kenn summed it up best in our talk when he said: “Just as it’s every parents choice whether or not to take their children to movies; it is every child’s right to decide how they will interact with that movie.” This truly G-rated movie is perfect for children and their innocent view of the world. I hope to be able to go back as a family of 4 when it opens, because Anne would go nuts for the vibrant characters and lively music. It was very refreshing to be able to watch a movie with my EXTREMELY literal thinker and not have to worry about her hurting herself or anyone else because of something she saw in the movie. We loved it, and highly recommend it to all parents who are looking for a fresh approach to movie going and an honestly G-rated film for their children.
We went into the day hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. I am happy to say that the day was a HUGE success, and the worst part of the day was she didn’t want to leave. So we forgot her ball, and I had to spin us in circles out of the theater, but it was actually a fun way to get to the car. Although our less than typical exit did earn us some strange looks, we were enjoying our Adventurific day too much to pay any attention. A HUGE Thank You to Kenn and his team for giving our family another first that was truly memorable and Au-Some!!
If you would like to find about more about the Oogieloves and their Sparkiliciousness, Adventurific, Scientastic approach to life, check them out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheOogieloves and/or Twitter: www.twitter.com/theoogieloves Their hashtags are #oogieloves and #ratedGGG
**Disclaimer – We were provided free tickets to the event and were compensated for our time and attendance. Please note that although we were paid for participation on that day, it has in no way influenced my opinions that were shared in this piece.**
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.