And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Today I attended a premiere for a school that had a special facility for children with autism. Fittingly the movie was “The Little Prince”. A childhood favorite of mine and the book invites us all to see with one s heart. The photo above shows the book I gave my son in third grade. The little wear is because we both read it.
Today we literally had to practice finding the essential by seeing or sensing with one s heart. The cinema had to be sensory friendly and I think many were thinking of a high tech solution. Sensory friendly meant being kind to children who had sensory issues. This means the sound system couldn’t be surround sound, the lights couldn’t be turned off and everyone had to be extra patient with children who were easily overwhelmed with the cinematic experience. In a time of 4 D theaters, we saw an extended animation film with whining and crying at the wrong time, heard the sound of spilling snacks, laughter when the characters were crying in the rain and shuffling to the toilets a little too often. We hardly saw the film in its entirety.
What we did observe are families that could never see a movie together being just thrilled to be at the cinema. Finally the normal siblings could sit through an entire film with their sensory sensitive brother or sister. They cooed or clapped at the wrong time but it was fine. Every family watching the show had been touched by autism and understood the language of love and patience.
So maybe the movie was a bad adaptation. The premiere at the sensory friendly theater was a success if one decided to see with one’s heart.