Category Archives: Disney

Finding Dory from a special needs parent’s point of view

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Yesterday I took the kids to see Finding Dory on opening day, the very first showing of the day. You see, Finding Nemo is one of Joey’s absolute favorite movies, so I even bought our tickets the night before online, which was a good move because it ended up being sold out! I’m going to try not to give away too many spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

As the movie started, when Joey realized what we were at the theater to see, he sat up, squealed out loud, bounced in his seat for a few seconds, then pointed at the movie screen and sat still for the rest of the movie. This was honestly the first movie he’s sat completely through without needing to even stand up and move around.

Back in 2003 when Finding Nemo came out, I never looked at it from a special needs parents point of view since being a parent wasn’t even in the picture yet. And honestly, due to Joey watching the movie dozens of times, it just never registered in my brain until yesterday. If you recall, Nemo was born with a small fin aka his “lucky fin” and had a hard time swimming but didn’t let his fin get in the way of accomplishing the impossible.

Nemo’s dad, Marlin, was an overprotective special needs parent that needed to give his child a little space to gain some much needed freedom.

Towards the end of Finding Nemo, Nemo tells Marlin to “let go,” that he can trust him. Marlin finally did just that and Nemo ended up succeeding and saving Dory. This is something that at times I STILL struggle with Joey doing. Sometimes, it’s just so hard to let go and let him do his thing. With past experiences we’ve had with Joey darting into crowds and running away, I even struggle with letting go of his hand while walking in a store. Joey has gotten much better staying by us but those past memories pop up and I get terrified of losing him in a crowd and I just can’t let go, my darn anxiety gets in the way, this is something I am still working on coping with and learning to trust Joey more.

In Finding Dory, we saw a her parents dealing with a lot of ADHD/OCD tendencies and their ways of adapting to having a special needs child. As the movie went on, I noticed more and more ways her parents and friends were coping with her as a child and adult. Adapting things to everyday living is something that most parents of extra ordinary children have to do on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day.

When “just keep swimming” came up in the movie, I had to laugh, that’s been something I’ve said to myself the past 10 years being Joey’s mom, so thank you to Dory (and Ellen!) for that line I say silently on a daily basis to myself, sometimes multiple times a day!

I could go on and on with things I noticed in the movie and ways I was able to relate with Dory’s parents, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for my readers who haven’t seen it yet. All in all, I have to say, Finding Dory was an excellent movie, possibly even better than Finding Nemo and totally worth seeing. We will most likely go see it a second time in the theater while it’s still out!

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