A simple family outing to the movie theater can be extremely challenging for people with autism or other sensory disorders. The Autism Society has teamed up with AMC Theatres to offer select films on specific dates for families and their loved ones with sensory disorders.
The idea for the Sensory-Friendly Films program came about an autistic child became too excited while watching a movie in a theater and was asked to leave so as not to disturb the other moviegoers. Her mother reached out to the local movie theater to see about having special screening times and not only did they say yes, they created a nationwide program. Although these special movie days are offered on a monthly basis, March is National Autism Awareness Month and that serves as a good reminder to take advantage of this program.
Emphasis on Friendly
“In order to provide a more accepting and comfortable setting for individuals on the autism spectrum, the movie auditorium keeps their lights turned slightly up and the sound turned slightly down,” explained the Autism Society. “The movie (typically G- or PG-rated) will start promptly at 10:00 a.m. and won't show previews or advertisements. Because some have strict, special dietary needs, families are permitted to bring their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks from home.”
During Sensory-Friendly Films kids can get up and dance, sing and shout if they are so inclined.
“Many others, not on the autism spectrum, also enjoy Sensory-Friendly Films,” noted the Autism Society. “It's a great opportunity for families to meet, siblings of children with autism to get to know other kids, and anyone to enjoy a movie in a climate of acceptance and understanding.”
Check the AMC website for a theater near you.