World Autism Awareness Day takes place on 2nd April and to celebrate Dimensions and the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association have helped secure over 800 Autism Friendly Screenings across the country. The CEA has invited all of its members to take part in a week long campaign to promote Autism Friendly Screenings in UK cinemas and help make the cinema accessible for people with sensory sensitivity.
Last year the campaign received a very good response from cinemas, with over 633 screenings taking place over the week, and it’s anticipated that this year will be even more popular with more Autism Friendly Screenings available across the country.
Dimensions, who is a specialist provider of person-centred support for people with learning disabilities and autism, organise Autism Friendly Screenings at over 250 cinemas in partnership with ODEON, Cineworld, Vue and Showcase. Each month the participating cinemas show a film from a selection of new releases and classics, which are suitable for all age ranges.
What makes the screenings autism friendly?
- The lights will be on low
- The volume will be turned down
- There will be no trailers at the beginning of the film
- You’ll be able to take your own food and drink’
- People are free to move around the cinema.
By encouraging cinemas to participate, it is hoped that local awareness will be increased as well as hoping to increase the numbers of individuals attending.
The screenings that are taking place during the two week period include.
- The SpongeBob Movie: A Sponge out of Water is at selected Cineworld, ODEON and Vue cinemas
- Home is at selected Cineworld, Showcase and ODEON cinemas
- Cinderella is at selected ODEON cinemas
- National Theatre Live: Treasure Island is at selected Vue cinemas
- X+Y is at selected Vue cinemas
* Please note that Vue tickets will be a different price to their usual price.
To see what is available near where you live, please visit Your Local Cinema. http://www.yourlocalcinema.com/afs.html
Lisa Hopkins, Executive Director of Practice Development at Dimensions helped to launch Autism Friendly Screenings with the ODEON in 2011. She told:
“We are really pleased to be working with the Cinema Exhibitors Association to put on extra Autism Friendly Screenings to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Our current partners, ODEON, Cineworld, Vue and Showcase, already have regular monthly screenings and are helping make the cinema accessible for even more people with autism so it’s great to see extra screenings taking place across the country.
“The monthly Autism Friendly Screenings have been so well received and continue to gain support, showing the need for more autism friendly environments and awareness. People who have sensory sensitivity can sometimes be excluded from the traditional cinema experience because they may find the sensory and social experience too difficult to manage.
“Autism Friendly Screenings gives them the opportunity to watch a wider variety of films, more frequently, in an environment conducive with their needs. These opportunities are important stepping stones towards full inclusion in mainstream cinemas and it’s great to see cinemas celebrating World Autism Awareness Day and supporting that process.”
The Dimensions website that gives information regarding Autism Friendly Screenings can be found here.