A brand new initiative has been introduced thanks to the recent partnership developed between Odeon cinemas and social care provider, Dimensions.
The partnership strives to help those who rely on autism support to take part in normal, day-to-day activities, in this case visiting a local cinema complex to watch a film. Odeon cinemas are providing monthly screenings of autism friendly films in over 80 of their cinemas across the UK, following an extremely successful summer trial where 3,000 viewers attended specialist screenings at 40 of their complexes.
What are the differences?
The majority of viewers that attended the summer trial agreed that the special screenings made visiting the cinema with sensory sensitive children and adults possible. As those with, or affected by, autism will know, a simple trip to see a film can be a daunting prospect. With changes to lighting, loud noises and feeling pressured to staying quiet and seated for the length of a film, many carers feel the cinema environment is too unstable for those affected by autism or learning difficulties to cope with.
However, the new autism friendly film screenings are specially adapted to fit the needs of the audience. For example, ensuring lights are left on low, soundtrack volumes are turned down and all trailers, which often have flashing images and fast-paced soundtracks, are completely removed. Another added difference is that the audience are free to move around the theatre if they need to and aren’t pressured into remaining quiet. In many cases, just being in the cinema environment can be alarming, but Odeon Cinemas are happy to arrange for advance visits to be made so those with difficulties can experience simple things like the layout of the complex and finding their seats before coming to watch a screening.
Dimensions is delighted that the initiative continues to grow in popularity following the trial earlier this year. They believe this service is taking great steps in showing new ways that today’s society can be more inclusive to those with autism and learning difficulties.
Over the coming months plans are already in place for popular movies such as Johnny English Reborn, Arthur Christmas and Madagascar 3 to be shown at over 80 cinemas around the country, helping to make an activity that is often taken for granted, a normality for those who require autism support.
This guest post written by David Smith, a passionate blogger and autism advocate. He works on behalf of numerous charities and authorities, such as the Hesley Group in the UK.