The last weekend before September kicks off. Before mine and Dylan’s schedule is back to back appointments from ABA therapy to speech, occupational and psychology appointments, I wanted us to enjoy time together and for him to have fun. His social life is definitely busier then mine!, and he’s three! 🙂
So I seen Omniplex cinema was having an autism friendly screening of the movie ‘two by two”. I brought him to the cinema once before, about a year ago ( and we spent the majority of the movie out in the lobby colouring and running about) That particular time was not an autism friendly screening. As soon as the lights to all the steps lit up, and then of course the booming surround sound came on, it was simply just too much of a sensory overload for Dylan to take on. The adverts were only beginning and he had already lost interest and his energy levels had gone through the roof! I now can look back and laugh at the whole experience. I am still also learning as I go along this autism journey and finding what suits Dylan and what simply doesn’t.
So what makes an autism friendly screening different?
- The lights are kept on at a low level.
- Lower than usual sound levels.
- No trailers or advertisements -just the film
- Allowance for increased levels of movements and noise.
The hope is that viewers with sensory difficulties become more familiar with the cinema environment and at some point they will feel comfortable with attending standard screenings. Dylan from a young age absolutely loved movies. His favourite been Pixar and Disney animation movies.
On the way to the cinema we prepared him for the movie he was about to watch by showing him trailers from youtube. When we got there we waited in the lobby until just a few moments before the movie was about to start. As to not have him sitting inside waiting, as his patience might have worn thin before the movie had even started. The movie was based around the story line of Noah’s ark. Dylan loves any movie with animals so he was hooked from the beginning!
I was nervous going into the cinema. I was preparing myself to be leaving after 20 minutes – but Dylan is always ready to surprise me, and he stayed for the whole movie. SUSCESS!!! Funnily enough we were the last to leave as Dylan insisted on watching all the credits at the end of the movie.They were parts of the movie that Dylan got over excited at but at least I knew he was enjoying the movie. No one even blinked an eye at Dylan jumping up and down on the chair. Dylan has limit speech but he finds a way though his actions to portray his emotion whether it be happy ,sad, angry or excited. We are already looking forward to our next cinema date. I am thrilled we have a new activity that we can enjoy and share together.
I really hope this might be helpful to anyone thinking of trying an autism friendly screening.
lots of love xo