Ok, here’s the rub. You’ve bought tickets to see a show in London (a costa-del-armandleg jobby). Three rows in front, a young geezer does impressions of the gorilla, Bolo, from the Mighty Boosh in a very loud voice every few minutes*. The person next to him makes a show of saying “Shhhhhhhhh”, but this is more to appease the increasingly irritated people around them, than any expectation that he’ll watch the show quietly.
So, should they leave so that everyone else rest can watch the show in peace?
Or should the audience relax their expectations?
I’m having a think about this today because it’s discussed by some bod from the Ambassador Theatre Group (click here).
All very complicated in some ways. In others, less so. What are we really talking about here?
Every now again, you might go somewhere, or do something, and someone else present changes the experience you thought you might have.
Blimey. That happens to me every other time I step outside the house (some tosspot goes through a red light, or talks at the top of their voice on their mobile, or parks in a disabled bay, or the bus driver doesn’t stop or.. or……..)
Trouble is, rule breaching (like blowing all the candles out at a Carol by Candlight concert**) creates a collective wave of disapproval that is like a tsunami for the parents/carers of the little rule breaker.
This bowls parents off their feet, they withdraw, retreat and stop taking their kids to places. Problem solved.
Except that it’s all unspoken and invisible. And with nasty consequences.
So I’m going to throw a random suggestion into the pot;
1. Everyone readjusts their expectations a bit and accepts that every so often, someone might add something to their activity that may or may not enhance it.
2. Explicitly separate spaces are created (same as child-free holidays) for those people who seriously can’t risk this happening. Not quite sure of the terminology here but something like *Crazy-dude free*.
That way we all know where we stand.
* This is one of many, many examples.
*I couldn’t resist this example from my arsenal of examples of unacceptable crazy-dude behaviour – just not LB this time.
Hmmm interesting question.
I love going to the theatre and have only been a couple of times to a show in the West End (being that I am from Sydney) .. so I can understand some disappointment in being distracted during a show … but now with a child with autism I think in alot of circumstances I am the one that people are having a problem with and giving the look.
While I would like to say that it doesn’t 100% bother me … that would be a lie. I do monitor and change our behaviour and decisions about going places because of my concern about how he might behave and how some people with behave to him. I think it is both protective of him and of us as a family. I think that one of the things that make parenting a child with autism difficult is the lack of understanding and acceptance from people in the community. You get the look/glares and the whispered words about bad parenting and lack of discipline.
I think as a society we need to be more tolerant of each other and the circumstances of other people. But at the same time services need to be provided to also help with that. One thing I love is the ‘crying room’ at a movie theatre. That is a great place to take a child with autism. You can be in there and they can enjoy the film, maybe do a yell or a scream if they are happy/sacred/sad, get out of their seat etc .. and not bother the whole cinema (sorry mums with sleeping babies). But I see this as a perfect place for both screaming babies/toddlers and kids with autism. I wish that there were more facilities like this. It makes life alot easier for everyone.
I agree that a lot of the time it’s the parents being conscious of the looks and stares (probably because they are receiving them :)). And parents can understand how annoying the noise can be to some people! Crying rooms sound a brilliant idea, as long as it doesn’t become accepted that kids with autism have to go in there, instead of the main space. We don’t have those here, though in the last couple of weeks there’s been lots of news around special cinema showings for kids with autism. I’m not a big fan of ‘special’ screening, though part of it was about making the cinema more ‘sensory friendly’ which means that some kids can cope with the setting better.
We went to a concert recently (tho I am a reality TV gal really) and during the bit we really wanted to see, some man in front had some sort of turn. It caused a lot of disruption, and we missed that whole bit, but the audience were totally concerned for him. That made me think a bit about why he was shown empathy, but parents with disabled children often aren’t. I suppose it’s to do with visibility and I suspect its to do with the fact that the audience could empathise with him because he was a general geezer instead of a ‘different’ child. Ho hum.