My child loves superhero. He’s pretended to be Tony Stark/Ironman. He’s dressed up as Spiderman to go to the park. He was Chase from Paw Patrol for Halloween. (Well, he looked like a cop, but we called him the little K9 dog from the Nickelodeon show.) But now Castle has a new hero in town.
Emmet. From The Lego Movie.
Yes, my child’s new hero is a 1.5 inch minifig.
Don’t get me wrong. My child has liked Lego characters before. Lego Harry Potter from the video game helped us to get him to wear his glasses when they were first prescribed. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (the video game) began his love for Ironman and the Robert Downey Jr. movies which led to his love for the Avengers and the various Marvel cartoons featuring them. The same happened with Batman.
But there’s something special about Emmet. Something that Castle actually relates to instead of just admiring. He doesn’t pretend to be Emmet like he does the others. He’s already too much Emmet to have to pretend.
You see, Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, is a guy who lives life by the instructions. These instructions allow him to fit in with his society — to communicate and have friends (of a sort), hold down a job and live on his own.
Sound familiar? It does to every parent with a high functioning autistic child.
Since my child started OT, he regularly makes plans — a written set of instructions if you will — of how various parts of his day will go. For example, we may go 1) Speech Therapy 2) School 3)Home 4) Play Xbox. Emmet starts his day following a specific plan:
And although Emmet’s plan is funny and a little silly, my kid very much identifies with it — down to having to do exercises in the morning. Since we started watching the movie regularly on HBOGo, we now get up and “just like Emmet” follow Emmet’s instructions/plan. I’m happy to report that mornings have been going much smoother. (I even got him to eat breakfast today.) True, he now wants to build some sort of small Lego thing now before school/therapy, but that’s much better than trying to keep him from the Xbox or iPad.
And unlike a lot of movies that start with ordinary guys discovering their extraordinary gifts, Emmet still maintains respect for the place where he started, the place where he followed instructions. My kid doesn’t have to feel bad that he needs plans, has at times learned scripts for social situations and generally needs a little more help (generally in written form) to get through the day. Although creativity and individuality is highly prized in the movie, so is teamwork and working from a plan. In the end all forms of play — from freeform building to mapped out Lego packages — are, like the song says, awesome.