Here is Why The Demand For Sensory Pleasant Film Experiences Is Rising
Family trips to the cinema are a great way to get out with the kids and laugh for a few hours together. Millions do it every week. However, for families with children with autism, a day at the movies can be a difficult and sometimes impossible ordeal.
“For children with autism, the experience can be overwhelming due to the intense sensory input. Combine loud noises with a dark room where you cannot visually navigate your space and the experience can be terrifying, ”Tara Delaney, MS, OTR / L, told PESI Rehab.
Not every theater is suitable for people with sensory problems.
Renee Hill tells NPR that the huge screen, darkened room, and loud soundtrack often overwhelm her 4-year-old son Weston, who otherwise enjoys watching videos2.
“You will keep finding him feeling uncomfortable and covering his ears, but if he’s really overwhelmed, he’ll just shut down and have a meltdown and start crying,” says Hill.
Going to the movies can be a stressful experience for parents of children on the spectrum.
Too many parents have stories about their children that disturb other viewers, which often results in them having to leave the theater. This can be traumatizing for the child and the parents.
“A lot of families aren’t sure how their child will react in these crowded situations, so they may not have tried or tried and it didn’t go so well,” says Debra Berry Malmberg, founder and director of the Autism Clinic in Cal State Northridge the Daily News.
Some theaters have accepted accommodation for people with sensory problems, but not all.
Atlantic says there’s a lot of demand, especially in the New York tri-state area – one in 68 U.S. children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 4th
So what can we do?
Recently, there has been a trend towards sensory-friendly films in certain cinemas. These demonstrations help make the experience easier for children and adults by keeping the lights dimmed but not turned off, keeping the sound away from normal booming audio, and encouraging kids to clap, talk, and even play in the theater! There are no worries about discomfort or meltdowns; Children can behave as they need to.
Lisa Carling, director of the Theater Development Fund’s (TDF) accessibility programs, which started ATI in 2011, told Atlantic that the idea of coordinating autism-friendly performances stems in part from the negative experiences of parents trying to bring their children to autism to bring to the theater aimed at a general audience. “Voices”, which is a self-stimulating, repetitive behavior that is sometimes a symptom of autism – such as B. flapping your hands, rocking back and forth, making repeated noises or repeating the same – would cause complaints from other viewers. Snacks and fidget toys were usually not allowed. One parent, Carling says, told her she was asked to leave a regular Chicago show halfway when her son kept singing along to the music. He went in tears. “Audience members just tune in to that person with special needs and think theirs [own] Experience is more important, ”says Philip Dallmann, who coordinates ATI4.
Help us make sensory shows an industry standard.
In 2007, AMC Theaters (AMC) and the Autism Society partnered to offer the Sensory Friendly Films program as a special opportunity for people with autism and others to enjoy their favorite films monthly in a safe and accepting environment. In order to provide a more acceptable and comfortable environment for people with the autism spectrum, the theater lights remain slightly up (dark lights remain on) and the sound is lowered slightly. Because some have strict, special dietary needs, families are allowed to bring their own gluten-free and casein-free snacks from home.
Unfortunately, not every chain participates in this new effort. And AMC is hardly the largest theater chain, which makes it difficult for many people to attend these shows. We want to change that!
Does your local cinema offer a sensory experience?
Chances are you have a movie theater near you, and if they did offer sensory shows, the rest of the industry would most likely follow suit. This is the first step in making family film days a wonderful and stress-free experience.
Click below and ask the CEO of your local cinema to put sensory shows in their theaters so that every family can enjoy a trip to the cinema.
Help bring sensory-friendly shows to the big cinemas!
Few theater chains in America offer sensory-friendly performances.
If big theaters were to offer sensory shows, the rest of the industry would most likely follow suit.
Click below and help us make sensory movie experiences an industry standard!