Autism friendly film screenings are to become a monthly event at a leading cinema chain, following the success of a pilot in the summer.
Dimensions, a support provider for people with autism and learning disabilities and cinema chain ODEON have announced that sensory friendly screenings will now take place monthly in 55 cinemas across the UK. More than 3,000 support workers, carers, people with learning disabilities and/or autism and their families came to the first special screening, which took place in 40 cinemas nationwide in August.
The screenings differ from regular showings in several ways; lights are left on low, the volume is turned down, trailers are omitted and people can move around the cinema or make a noise as they feel comfortable. These subtle alterations help people with sensory differences and enable them to attend newly released films with friends and family in an inclusive environment.
The next autism friendly screening will be of Johnny English Reborn (PG) week commencing October 14, followed by Arthur Christmas week commencing November 18.
Director of specialist development at Dimensions, Lisa Hopkins, said: “The pilot screening was a great success and we have been inundated with messages from families, support providers and individuals who have been kind enough to share their personal experiences with us. The turnout and enthusiasm of the people that attended clearly shows the demand for these types of screenings, which were already taking place in some cinemas but have never before been accessible to so many people in the UK. “We are very excited that ODEON will continue to offer this service and hope that it will get other businesses and people talking and thinking about new ways that our society can become more inclusive to individuals that experience autism and or learning disabilities.”