AMC is going to have “sensory friendly” showings of children’s movies, in select areas. If you have a child who is on the Autism Spectrum, you may want to give these special showings a try. This is the first time I have heard of a movie theater considering the needs of kids who have sensitivities to sound and light.
AMC Entertainment has movie theaters all across the country. They have teamed up with the Autism Society of America. Together, they are providing a sensory friendly movie experience for children who have autism, and their parents. This is a very new idea, and not one I have heard of before. The idea came from a request that a parent made to AMC. The parent has an autistic child, and wanted a special screening that she could take her child to, that would not be as overwhelming as the typical movie experience would be. The result is the Sensory Friendly Films series.
It is not unheard of for children to be startled by a sudden, unfamiliar, loud noise. Many children who have autism are especially sensitive to sounds that are too loud, or too grating. The same sound that a person without Autism finds annoying can be completely overwhelming to some children who have Autism. The same can be said for especially bright lights, or a large contrast between light and darkness. Some children with Autism will need to move their bodies in order to calm themselves, or to process certain sensory experiences. It all depends on how sensitive a particular child is.
A typical movie experience involves a pitch dark theater, with a loud, brightly lit movie playing. This can be too much for children with sensory sensitivities. Being anxious often causes children to want to get up, walk around, or move their bodies in ways that are not acceptable at a typical movie experience. The Sensory Friendly movies include theaters where the lights are up, the sound is lowered, and audience members are allowed to get up, move around, and even dance and sing. The films selected are for children, and are family friendly.
Right now, AMC is providing one sensory friendly film experience per month. Not all theaters are participating yet. Most of the theaters offering this unique movie experience are located in major cities across the United States. If you think this is something your child would enjoy, you can check a list on the AMC website, and look for a theater near you. It might not be a bad idea to phone ahead, just to make sure, before you arrive at the theater.
Image by Janet Hudson on Flickr