I was fortunate enough to spend a special Saturday with my oldest son, Brady. We went on a mommy-son date to watch the Croods. This was a big day for Brady!
Brady has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and because of some issues regarding Sensory Processing, watching a movie is a bigger ordeal than it is for most of us. The darkness, the loud blaring noises - it can all be a tad bit much for his system. So, while he loves movies, we have not really taken him to a theatre much.
I had heard that AMC had partnered up with the Autism Society to present a Sensory Friendly Film the first Saturday of each month at participating locations. There are several participating locations nationwide. Luckily, there is a theatre fairly close that participated in this program. Another ASD mommy and I decided to try it out. The movie this month was the Croods. I know that the movie is presented in 3-D, but luckily for us, this showing was in 2-D.
The Sensory Friendly Film presentation made some minor adjustments to allow kids with sensory issues to enjoy a movie with their family. The lights were dimmed slightly, so that the theatre was not dark. It appeared that the sound was not as loud as it would normally be. One cool perk - there were NO PREVIEWS! So, our little movers and shakers did not spend half an hour waiting for the film to start! And, best of all?! There was a mutual understanding that if your kiddos needed to move around or speak (as most kids on the Spectrum NEED TO DO), that was acceptable!
I think that the best thing of all is that you KNEW you were watching amongst understanding parents, just like you. So, if my little Brady said loudly, "Mommy, let's say bye-bye", other parents just quietly nodded and gave a little smile. And, when my little Brady cried to go back inside, I wasn't facing the stares of disgruntled patrons.
I am looking forward to participating in upcoming Sensory Friendly Films. Brady was so proud of himself for making it through the entire film. At the end of the credits he exclaimed, "Mommy, I did it!".
For more information on the AMC Sensory Friendly Film program, please visit their website.