UK cinemas have once again come together to host a nationwide programme of Autism Friendly Screenings.
With support from autism support provider Dimensions, these screenings will provide a further boost to the UK’s growing range of cinema programming for people with autism.
Over 900 autism friendly screenings, will take place around the country during April; with many screenings taking place on World Autism Awareness Day, Tuesday 2 April. Reduced sound levels, increased lighting and advert-free content allow this audience group, their families and carers to be comfortable and feel fully included in the unique experience of a trip to the cinema.
Over the last few years and following the success of last year’s campaign, an increasing number of UK cinema operators have begun programming regular autism friendly screenings for their local communities.
World Autism Awareness Month provides cinemas with an ideal opportunity to celebrate that fact.
On Monday 22 April Hebden Bridge Picture House is hosting an autism friendly screening of Dumbo (PG) at 2.00pm (doors 1.30pm).
Rebekah Fozard, Manager for Hebden Bridge Picture House said:
“We’re really looking forward to our autism friendly screening and hope lots of local residents can come and join us. We’ve been running occasional relaxed / autism friendly screenings at Hebden Bridge Picture House since Summer 2017. We have found that with word of mouth, and an increased audience understanding that everyone who would benefit from the adjusted screening environment is welcome (you don’t need to be on the autistic spectrum to attend), support for these screenings has steadily increased. We now run one screening of a family orientated film, in the matinee (early afternoon) slot every school holidays, and will continue to do so, whilst our customers find it beneficial.”
Autism friendly screenings are a prime example of the UK cinema sector’s ongoing commitment to be as inclusive as possible and to find different ways to meet the needs of disabled and sensory sensitive customers.
Stacey, who along with her husband and son Jake have been going to autism friendly screenings for the last two years, said:
“My son Jake has a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. He loves going to autism friendly showing because he absolutely loves movies and that he can predict what’s going to happen. It feels really relaxing to go to an autism friendly showing because I don’t have to worry. I can trust that most things will be comfortable and there’s no judgment and glances.
For him, he knows that he can be himself in that environment, he can go and wear his ear defenders or have a special toy with him, whatever he wants to take with him to make him more comfortable he can do that and no one’s going to tell him off, no one’s going to judge him, none of the other kids are going to look at him and laugh. He can just be himself on that particular day.”
Read more about Hebden Bridge Picture House Autism Screenings here.