Saturday mornings have just become a lot more enjoyable for children with autism in Canada.
Every four to six weeks at 10:30 a.m., select theaters across Canada will screen movies with the lights on and the sound down. To make it an all-around pleasant experience, the theaters will also turn the video games and lower the music in the lobby.
The Sensory Friendly Screenings kicked off Saturday with a showing of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Charlie Thompson, 6, attended the first screening Saturday at Cineplex Odeo and really enjoyed himself.
“It’s an accepting group,” Susan Thompson, Charlie’s mother, told the Edmonton Journal. “Charlie can be Charlie and enjoy the movie his way.
“It’s more to just be among people who understand,” added Daryl Thompson, Charlie’s father. “It’s great to be able to come to a movie and there’s no pressure.”
Theaters plan on showing Cinderella, Home and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron in the upcoming months.
Some of these kids have never even been to a movie theater before, so this is an opportunity for them to be in a comfortable environment with others like them.
Bonita Harman’s son, Blake, 11, hasn’t been able to see a movie in a theater in years.
“He’ll start to get loud if it’s too uncomfortable for him, and so, I mean, that’s distracting for other people, so it doesn’t work very well,” Harman told CBC News.
The theaters will also offer a “break out” room for the kids to turn to during the movie if they feel like they need to escape.
It’s so exciting to see big corporations accepting families with kids with autism and recognizing how important this is,” Terri Duncan, executive director of Children s Autism Services of Edmonton, told the Edmonton Journal. “Recognizing that giving these families the same access as other families is an important thing.”