I am so excited to share something that my husband discovered just the other day: The AMC Sensory Friendly Films program!
It’s been around since 2007 so we may be behind the times on this one, but finding this program brought my husband to (literal) tears. He had been dying to take our oldest boy to a movie, but had been sure it would end badly.
But, AMC and the Autism Society have worked together to create a friendly environment for kids like him. For kids on the spectrum, it is not enjoyable to hear blasting sounds coming from all directions Bright lights can also be quite an issue, but total darkness can be frightening. There are a lot of things about the typical theatre experience that can be unpleasant for autistic kids, or kids with other sensory issues.
In addition, kids like our sweet boy are often unable to sit still, stay quiet and show “etiquette” in a movie. They prefer to sing, dance, yell out to the screen, and scream when something exciting happens.
There is nothing at all intrinsically wrong with that, in my mama opinion. It’s just exceptionally inappropriate when the rest of the moviegoers are disturbed by the child. It isn’t fair to ask them to sit through a movie with a kid who may be so active that he would ruin the film for them.
But, these kids still want to see movies and they still deserve to get to go. My guy still wants to be able to participate with friends in activities that may be challenging for him. He still deserves to experience all of the best in life. He just needs some kind people to notice him, and take exactly half of a second to see him for who he is.
This makes me so incredibly grateful. If our guy had been born just 20 or 30 years earlier, few people would have understood what he needed. Some others may have thought he was just poorly mannered and didn’t deserve a chance to go to the movies. But, he was born in a time when people are aware enough, and CARE enough, to help kids like him. That fills my mama heart all of the way up!
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