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How ‘Inside Out’ will Impact the Lives of Kids with Special Needs

We attended a screening as a guest of Disney

How 'Inside Out' will Impact Kids with Special Needs
I have many friends with beautiful children who have special needs. Something that my friends who have children with special needs are always talking to me about as being their biggest struggle is helping their children to express their emotions. While I was watching the movie “Inside Out” last week, all I could think about was, how much this film is going to impact the lives of families who have a child with special needs.

After watching the movie, I immediately talked with my friend Rebecca who has the sweetest (and adorable) little boys with special needs. Her children’s lives are heavily impacted by the magic of Disney and Pixar with “CARS” being her son Jackson’s favorite movie. “There is just something about Pixar films that helps my kids express their emotions, and I can’t wait to see what ‘Inside Out’ will do to benefit my kids,” said Rebecca. She continued to tell me, “one of our biggest challenges with Jackson is helping him to show his emotions and read the emotions of other people. I feel like the film will help show my kids who are missing the social piece of emotion in themselves and others what happiness looks like, and explain it to them in a way that they will be able to understand. It will show them what anger looks and feels like through animation and humor which is a huge educational tool for them.”

Rebecca and her family

Rebecca and her family

I then talked with my friend, Dr. Courtney Harkins, Psy.D, MFT, who is a local marriage and family therapist in Orange County, and has worked a lot with children who have special needs during her career. She shared with us…

Disney*Pixar is attempting to bring to life in their new movie, “Inside Out,” a way to understand and view feelings in a radical new way. They are attempting to visualize and create images, about what feelings look, feel, act and sound.

It is an incredible task because it is going to help children understand what feelings are. Children can not talk about feelings or emotions and what they are feelings if they do not understand them. This movie is going to change that for all children, especially children with special needs.

Many times children and even adults do not understand what feelings feel like to them. This movie is going to allow feelings to come to life, and we can have a relationship with feelings in a new way as a result of this film.

This movie is going to help both children and parents talk and discuss how feelings impact us and the relationships we have with others. This is truly amazing! My hope is that if parents have felt uncomfortable in the past talking about feelings, this movie will make it fun for both parents and children to talk about them.

Remember, children like to do things that are fun. It is important for our children that we as their parents, who are also their first and primary teachers, talk to them about feelings. When we talk to them about feelings, and it helps them feel better and many times changes their behaviors. It also connects us to one another and makes us feel bonded and attached.

Some ways to help talk to your child about feelings or emotions using the movie Inside Out could sound like this, “Disgust was the color green in the movie, you feel Disgust too. Would yours be green or a different color?”. “Who was your favorite feeling in the movie?” “I was surprised fear was purple, I always thought of fear as the color black. What color do you think fear should be?” “Can you remember a time you felt joy?” “Can you remember a time you felt fear?” “Can you remember a time when you felt disgust?”. Parents can also share stories of when they felt these feelings as a child, at a similar age to their children. Kids love to know that their parents once felt these crazy feelings too.

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Don’t miss taking your children to see “Inside Out” in theaters today!

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