An unexpected plot twist…”Movie with Max”

Movie with MaxThis past January, we shared with you the story of Emily Colson’s Christmas trip to the movies with her son, Max. As is the case with many children and adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Max may experience distress when he’s exposed to excessive sensory stimulation.

In this interview with the Hallmark Channel, Emily described her family’s experience during the movie…

Emily’s blog post describing her experience went viral. Her website crashed from all the traffic. The Huffington Post picked up their story. Other disability ministry leaders put Emily’s post on their sites. I was taken aback by the treatment Emily and Max received in a day and age when society claims to be more tolerant and accepting of persons with disabilities.

The story of Emily and Max has taken an unexpected turn, thanks to the generosity of a woman who, along with the Colson’s attends North River Community Church in Pembroke, MA.

Renee Walston is renting out a local theater next Thursday evening for a showing of Muppets Most Wanted that Max will be attending, along with many other kids and young adults with disabilities, joined by members of the general public. Renee started off by renting a 94-seat theater. Six days prior to the scheduled event, a 300-seat theater is nearly sold out. Renee described to a local reporter her reasons for buying out the movie theater…

“As Christians, we’re supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves,” she said. “I just thought that if it were my child, I would have to find a way to make this right for him.”

Emily and Max are fortunate to belong to a church where their presence and involvement are valued and desired. Not all families of kids with disabilities are so fortunate. Quoting from Emily in the video…

“I had a lot of parents, hundreds of parents that contacted me and said thank you for sharing this story, because this happens in my family, it happens in the community, it might look different but it even happens in our church that we can’t find our way in and people feel like you’re disrupting us.”

Emily is assuming a vital role in sharing Max’s story to advance the cause of inclusion of persons with disabilities in the church. Our team at Key Ministry is honored to have been given the opportunity to come alongside Emily in that task.

Emily Colson largeOn Wednesday, April 2, Emily will be joining us as our guest blogger in honor of Autism Awareness Day. On the following Monday (April 7th), Emily will be joining us for the next installment of our Inclusion Fusion Web Symposium. We’ll have an opportunity to sit down with Emily and listen as she shares her family’s experience prior to finding a church where they were welcomed and accepted, and we’ll hear of the unique and wonderful ways that Max has been a blessing to the people of his church. Emily will be available at designated times throughout the day to chat online with others interested in her family’s story, and we’ll be offering our participants the opportunity to share their stories as well.

We’re grateful that God appears to be orchestrating a very happy ending to this installment in Max’s story!

Updated 3/20/14, 10:15 PM: Here’s a link to an interview with Emily and Renee from tonight’s evening news on the Fox affiliate in Boston.


Dancing With Max BookWith candor and wit, Emily Colson shares about her personal battles and heartbreak when, as a suddenly single mother, she discovers her only child has autism. Emily illuminates the page with imagery—making you laugh, making you cry, inspiring you to face your own challenges. Chuck Colson, in his most personal writing since Born Again, speaks as a father and grandfather. It is a tender side Max brings out of his grandfather, a side some haven’t seen. As Emily recalls her experiences, we discover that Max’s disability does not so much define who he is, but reveals who we are. Dancing with Max is not a fairy tale with a magical ending. It’s a real life story of grace and second chances and fresh starts in spite of life’s hardest problems. And Max? Max will make you fall in love with life all over again, leaving you dancing with joy. Dancing With Max, available at Amazon.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Autism, Families, Hidden Disabilities, Inclusion, Inclusion Fusion, Stories, Training Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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