The Lego Movie: An Autism Mom’s Review

Last weekend, Grammy and I took The Boy to see the Lego Movie, and if you haven’t seen it, you should.  It is delightful, and not just for children.

The main reason I enjoyed it was the message.  For years, I have lamented the lack of room for creativity in today’s schools.  I used to have a poem somewhere about how school crushes creativity by creating sameness, and the paradox is that in a society that claims to celebrate the individual, the opposite is usually the case, at least as I have observed.

When I was young, I was involved in Odyssey of the Mind, which was a contest in creativity, giving kids the parameters of a problem, and seeing how they could solve the problem.  I don’t even know if it exitsts anymore, but  I doubt kids today would have any interest in something like that, let alone excel in it, and it’s through no fault of their own.

The Boy's building - no instructions! - constructed at the Lego exhibit at the museum last year

The Boy’s building – no instructions! – constructed at the Lego exhibit at the museum last year

In fact, Legos themselves have changed over the years, increasingly being sold in kits with directions on how to make something specific, rather than a bucket of bricks with which to make anything a kid desires.  This can create problems in an autism household when a specific brick goes missing, and therefore the directions cannot be followed!  I posted about a fix for this a long while ago, but directions can become a problem, for sure. The message of the movie, surprisingly, was that it doesn’t have to be that way.  That there is a benefit in following the directions, and teamwork, but that it has to be balanced with individual desires, and creative thinking.

From the autism mom’s perspective, I watched my son actively engaged throughout the movie, often laughing loudly, and catching lots of the subtle jokes.  It was fantastic to see him enjoy it so much.  And Grammy and I enjoyed it thoroughly, as well.  If you haven’t gone, you need to.  There’s a reason it’s still in the theaters!

The St. Patrick’s Day “hat”…

My son remembers just about everything.

St. Pat's Day "Hat"A couple of years ago, he made Fabulous Babysitter buy him a St. Pat’s-themed head band with orange pigtails that got some pretty strange looks when he wore it.  He was oblivious, of course, but the rest of us weren’t.  This is one of the tough parts of being an autism parent (or caregiver, or teacher).  We don’t want to deny them anything that makes them happy (at least nothing as benign as this), but we also don’t want them to be targets for the less compassionate public at large.

A few years ago, it was a beanie (complete with propeller!) that The Boy had found around Halloween at a costume store.  Harmless, right?  Until I got the note home from his teacher that he was being teased, and could we please keep it at home…

And part of me screamed, “No!  Let’s concentrate on the teasers and not the one being teased!” while the other part said, “Oh, for sure.  I so get it.”

Fabulous Babysitter took The Boy out on Fun Friday, and he wanted to get some St. Patrick’s day “stuff”, and he dragged her from place to place (although she would never call it that), until he remembered the exact store they had purchased the pigtail-headband the last time.  And they purchased it again.  And again, we ask ourselves –  is it better to let him be himself, or help him to assimilate?