Autism Friendly Films – the pioneering projects which makes going to the cinema more accessible for people with autism – has celebrated its first anniversary (14th August 2012).

Since its launch a total of 21,561 people have attended the special screenings, run by Dimensions in partnership with ODEON cinemas. The scheme was launched in August 2011, and features a specially-tailored showing of a current cinema release. The screenings are held one Sunday a month and now nearly 90 ODEON cinemas are taking part.

Autism Friendly Film Screenings are mainstream films shown in a sensory friendly environment. Lights are on low, sound is turned down, trailers are omitted and people can bring their own food and make noise.

Director of Practice Development at Dimensions, Lisa Hopkins, said: “The autism community have really embraced our project. This partnership has enabled so many people who experience autism to feel more involved in their community. It is all about inclusion and we are very pleased with the positive impact it has made to people’s lives.

“One in a hundred people in England and Wales are diagnosed with autism and it is essential society is adaptable to their needs – this project, we feel, is a huge step in the right direction”.

The first Autism Friendly Films screening was of Mr Popper’s Penguins. Forty cinemas took part in what was initially a one-off event, attracting 3,222 people. Following the success, the initiative was rolled out to more cinemas and changed to a monthly format.

The next Autism Friendly Film screening will be of the new Disney-Pixar film Brave on Sunday 16 September at 11:30. For more information visit  www.dimensions-uk.org/autismfilms