I still remember like it was a few days ago when Brian and I attended a church event related to incorporating special needs families into churches. There was a panel of special needs parents with an audience to ask questions. We were in the audience, but we lived this scenario as a special needs family attending church. One person asked, “If we take care of this population, we may not know what to do.” I remember leaning over to Brian and saying, “There are a lot of days we do not know what to do, and we are the parents!” He agreed and said, “Yes.”
Let me just illustrate this. Tristan is now 18 years, we have been parenting him for a long time. We had a stand-off at the movie theatre over the weekend. Tristan has been out of sorts the entire weekend. Actually, a few weeks have been difficult for all at his group home. At home, we have been working on total communication with great success. This is why this stand-off at the movie theatre kind of surprised us. The movie finished, and Tristan did not want to get up and leave the movie theatre. Then he threw an empty cup to show he meant business of staying. Sigh… this was not going well. In fact, all of our movie theatre outings have gone great. This was a first that we didn’t have a playbook on what to do. Here is the thing usually, a toddler has a small body, and you just scoop the child up and leave. However, he is now a man-size with a toddler/preschooler level of development. Brian and I talked about what to do as the cleaning crew was trying to complete their tasks for the next showtime. I realized Tristan was not going to leave until all the credits were done showing. In his mind, it was still movie time. For some reason, he enjoys watching the credits roll. These credits rolled on and on and on.
I walked over to the staff and said, “I am so sorry, but our special needs child will not leave until the credits are done. He is like a toddler, and we can’t just scoop him up.” Thankfully the young lady responded that it was okay not to worry.
Brian and I noticed an exit right straight out of the theatre. The moment the credits were finished, Tristan finally complied.
Tristan walked outside, happy like nothing ever happened. Brian and I looked at each other and were grateful the movie stand-off came to an end!
It is okay to not know what to do. There are a million scenarios that no parent can predict. Take a deep breath, send an arrow prayer, stay calm, and carry on!