Autism At The Cinema

Autism At The Cinema

Lily had a great week at school. With all the problems we had before the half term holidays, she has done incredibly well. Friday night was treat Lily night. Jack was at overnight rest-bite, so it was a chance to focus on Lily, and test out autism at the cinema. It would be the first time Lily had been to the cinema in some time, and since her difficulties with autism had really started to show.

First off acouple of things have changed. She now takes in ear defenders, we picked up these ones for less than £5 on amazon. (Affiliate link) They are worth every penny. Jack has used them for years, and won’t go anywhere without having them with him.

We always thought Lily didn’t need them. We were wrong. She might not need them to the extent Jack does, as she appears more tolerable to noise. But it’s become clear she does need them to cope in busy situations, and just because she doesn’t “kick off” like Jack does. It doesn’t mean she’s not struggling.

She also went for an eye test, and now has glasses. We are hoping this will solve the issues she is having with headaches. She has been enjoying school again, which is great. The situation still needs keeping an eye on. I really don’t think going to a big secondary school is going to be good for Lily. But how we plan ahead for that I’m not sure. But for now at least she is happy again.

Lily wanted to go and see the new Sonic movie at the cinema. Jack had already seen it, so we chose to do it when he wasn’t going to be there. First she wanted McDonald’s.

Autism at the Cinema

After that it was off to the Odeon Cinema. Since I last went it had been kitted out with new comfy reclining seats. I was extremely comfortable for the movie, laid back with my drink and popcorn. 

Lily loved the reclining seat, we were set up on the back row in the corner. Though Lily is usually ok out in public, and she doesn’t “stim” to a very noticeable level, unless you are looking for it. We thought it the best place to sit, with her anxieties and behaviours having increased since the last cinema trip.

It was Friday evening and the cinema was pretty full, but Lily was absolutely fine. Due to the big comfy seating arrangement, you get a lot of space. So you don’t feel cramped or surrounded, which definitely helps. She really I enjoyed it, we all did to be fair. I was a young kid when Sonic first came onto the scene in the early 90s. So there was a bit of nostalgia there for me. 

Lily eyeing up the popcorn & sweets

There were a few times during the movie, that Lily looked over to me and just looked so happy. I can’t wait until we can go to the cinema again, maybe with Jack as well. Though he seems to always go to the cinema at rest-bite, and watch what I want to watch with him. I still haven’t watched Avengers End Game. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything….

Anyway it was a lovely evening for the 3 of us. There are autism friendly screenings at the Odeon cinema, and that’s great. But Lily doesn’t need them, not at the moment anyway. I also think Jack would be fine at that cinema. He is likely to get a bit more excitable than Lily, but when he’s watching something he likes, he tends to put full concentration into it. I think he’s be fine. We will look at testing out this theory soon

Special Friends go Swimming

Special Friends go Swimming

Today’s post, special friends go swimming, is about a great local charity. But first, Jack was at his over night rest-bite on Friday night. As I wasn’t feeling too well. I didn’t take Lily out anywhere. We just sat together and watched some films. It was Captain Underpants and Boss Baby. As far as having to watch kids films as a dad goes. These are two of the better ones.

This morning I still wasn’t feeling great. But Natalie was taking Lily to the park, before going to pick Jack up. And I wasn’t getting out of it. I was alright once I got there. Lily had fun with the park to herself. 

The other day I talked about Jack’s dogs. Lily doesn’t use them to communicate. At least not yet. But she has her own dogs. She uses them for comfort, and to play. Unlike Jack. Who will take them out in his rucksack. Lily likes to hold them. At least for a while. Then I have to hold them. I’ve come up with what I think is an ingenious solutions.

Yes. As they are small. I can get them into my coat pocket. It does mean having to walk around the park. With teddies hanging out of your coat pockets. But such things don’t bother me. What I’m going to do in the summer. I haven’t worked out yet.

Special friends go swimming

After Natalie had brought Jack home. She took Lily to a swimming session. Organised by Special Friends. They are a small charity based in the town of Belper, in Derbyshire. If you are in the Derbyshire area. And you have a child with additional needs. I strongly recommend you check them out at

Lily goes to the sibling group once a month. They also have a play group. They even organise things just for parents. I believe Natalie has been on a Mums one. I haven’t been on the dads night out yet. But would consider it. The need to get out and meet people who understand. Has really dawned on me recently.

They also do family events. Such as the swimming session today. Which was a sensory swim. With lights and floats etc that Lily really loved. Especially put on so a group of people in similar circumstances. Can get out and feel comfortable together. I can’t praise the work they do highly enough. 

Their next event is trampolining. All 4 of us will be going. It will be the first time taking Jack to one. So hopefully he enjoys it. As with anything new. Taking Jack comes with a bit of trepidation. Because we know that it’s like when it doesn’t go well. But he’s doing well at the moment. If things stay that way. Then I think he’s ready. 

Dad Does Autism

a short trip to the park

a short trip to the park

I made the most of the kids being back at school today, before a trip to the park in the afternoon. I cracked on getting everything sorted for the website. I now think I’ve got everything I need up and running. At least to the standard I’m currently capable of. It is a relief to finally get there. A lot of work and even more swearing has gone into it. But I I think (touch wood) I’m starting to get the hang of the web design stuff.

Kids both came home from school happy. Jack had his usual Monday afternoon out with DAS. So I used the time to take Lily for a trip to the park. Then to the shop. It’s not much. But it’s the little things that are important. Just making that little bit of time everyday. Has to become a priority. Even after a good day at school. She still appeared very agitated. And continues to lose her temper and get upset very quickly.

I could see how happy she was to get out with just me. Even if it wasn’t for long. As it got dark quite quickly. I look forward to the lighter evenings greatly. There was a group of kids from her school on the park. One boy from her class. The rest were older. Lily’s not phased by other kids being there which is good. Trying to get Jack on a park where there’s other kids. Can be almost impossible. So, overall it’s been a nice day. 

Now I’m spending the evening getting everything ready for Jack’s birthday which is tomorrow. He’s looking forward to it, and showing no signs of getting anxious about it. The Christmas build always brings lots of problems. But for his birthday we can keep it a bit more low key. So not to over stimulate him. We have found in the past. Trying to do to much doesn’t work. The change in routine and excitement can get to much and trigger behaviours.

So keeping things at Jack’s pace is the plan. Hopefully it all goes well.

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Sibling group problems & fun with dogs

Sibling group problems & fun with dogs

Once a month. Lily gets to go to a sibling group. It’s for children with brothers or sisters with Autism. It’s something else we get through Jack. Lily gets nothing in her own right. But it’s something she really enjoys and looks forward to. She usually spends the time doing some arts & crafts. We know there is at least one girl she talks to.

Unfortunately the sibling group was cancelled today. Due to not enough people attending. Lily was disappointed. She could really have done with it. After the way this weeks gone. I really hope this isn’t going to be a problem going forward. It already feels unfair that Jack gets to go out every week with rest-bites. Then twice a month with his over night rest-nite.

We try and do things with Lily when Jacks at rest-bite. But money is tight and we can’t always afford to go out. I know Lily feels she doesn’t get to do as much we Jack.

We did the usual go to my parents for dinner. As well as Mack the dog. The kids had my brothers dog Henry to play with. Who is staying with my parents for a few nights. So it was double the fun. We took them for a walk to the local park. Jack especially liked getting to hold Mack’s lead.

Jack took a video of Mack sitting on the park bench with him. He’s using TikTok. Jack loves creating videos on there. We didn’t really know what it was when he first went on there. We had some problems with him wanting to message everyone. So he can only use it on my phone. When supervised. So he can keep being creative. Which I think is important.

Jacks bond with Mack is great. He’s never any calmer than when he’s with him. Jacks love for animals and nature is really nice to see. Lily is growing up the same way. She told me today Greta Thunberg was her hero.

It was a nice visit overall. Unfortunately as Lily got tired. She became overwrought and got upset. This caused Jack to get angry. So I took him outside to try and calm him down. He was seeking deep pressure. To help him regulate his sensory needs and anxiety. So we pulled and pushed each other about for a few minutes.

In the distance we heard a dog bark. So I barked back. Much to Jacks amusement. So I ended up barking at this dog for 5-10 minutes. The things we do to help our children. It worked though, as Jack was ready to go back inside.

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a nice quiet day

a nice quiet day

After the last few days, today we needed a nice quiet day. Natalie has to take her car to the garage. So with the kids at school. I had a good few hours to myself. I spent some time working on the website. And then did some much needed housework.

The house is packed full of god knows what. So I am trying to go through it and de clutter, and organise it better. It’s proving a slow process. Especially as Lily won’t let you get rid of anything. She even wants to keep empty sweet wrappers. Usually if you remove smaller things without her noticing. She doesn’t realise. But with her toys. It is more difficult, and starting to become a major concern. If anyone has any experience dealing with this. Then some advice would be most welcome.

The kids both came home from school happy, and wanted to play in the garden. So it was more of the Cricket/baseball game for me and Lily. Whilst Jack was pretending to be some sort of ninja. It was cold so we didn’t stay out too long.

I do try and get Jack to join in the sports games at times. But if you ask every time. He starts to get annoyed. I just like to remind him he can join in with us if he wants too.

Jack spent the rest of the evening in his room. Whilst Lily watched TV downstairs. All was calm and today was a nice quiet day. These can be rare, so you always have to enjoy them.

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Frustration with Derbyshire Autism Services

Frustration with Derbyshire Autism Services

The latest look into how Autism effects daily life. On Mondays we have a few hours “restbite”. A couple of workers come from Derbyshire Autism Services and take Jack out. It is something that Jack really enjoys and looks forward to. He gets the 2 to 1 support he needs to go out into the community. Something we find very difficult to do. 

I will take him out around where we live on my own. But there has been to many incidents that got too out of control. Because of that I won’t go further afield. Or anywhere likely to be busy on my own with him.

Last night right at the last second. We found out the session had been cancelled. One of the workers had a family emergency and couldn’t come. We know very well. Things happen that change plans. 

But this has happened on a number of occasions in the last year. Each time we find out at the last second. There seems nothing in place to provide any cover. It’s all very frustrating. Jack needs a lot of pre warning for any changes. I dread having to tell him. 

Luckily today Natalie was at home. So I talk Jack for a walk. He got to catch some Pokemon. Then we had McDonalds for tea, and watched the Scooby Doo movie. Jack was happy with the compromise. So was I. I’m not ashamed to admit McDonald is my guilty pleasure.

The other frustrating thing. Lily misses out on her time without Jack around. Where she gets undivided attention. We did manage to play in the garden for a bit. I was playing cricket, but Lily was hitting home runs. Still it was fun. Jack isn’t very sporty. So it’s nice for me that Lily enjoys sport.

Autism Services are a good thing. Even if occasionally frustrating. Our local one Derbyshire Autism Services, can be found at

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How autism friendly is the Royal Derby Hospital?

How autism friendly is the Royal Derby Hospital?

The conversation has popped up on occasion. What would happen if Jack needed to go to Children’s Accident & Emergency? How Autism friendly is the Royal Derby hospital? We have had plenty of appointments for Jack. But he hadn’t been to A&E since he was little. Until last night.

Jack scratched his eye, we left it for a while but it wasn’t showing any signs of getting better. So we decided with a touch of trepidation to go and get it looked at.

I can not praise the Royal Derby Hospital enough. Natalie explained the situation to the receptionist. A nurse came straight to see us, then we were taken to a quiet room. Where we would stay for the entire visit. All the fears of Jack having to cope with a busy waiting room. All taken away. We can’t thank the hospital enough for that.

We were really proud of how Jack coped. He  initially didn’t want them to put the dye in his eye. With plenty of encouragement he eventually let them do it. He has a small scratch on his eye. It should be fine after a few days. What had always been a major worry, turned out to be a fairly routine visit. The reason for that is the answer to the original question. How autism friendly is the Royal Derby Hospital. The answer in our experience, is very autism friendly.

How autism friendly have hospitals been in your experience? I’d like to hear about your experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Dad Does Autism