A couple of recent Freedom Care blogs have featured films, for example The Drama of Autism and Silver Linings LINK.   We were therefore delighted to see at a cinema over the Christmas season that they are running special screenings for customers with autism and their families.

This is similar to the recent feature we ran on the toy store Toys R Us that does extra store openings for autistic children and their families. Investigating it further, it seems that several cinema chains – Vue, Odeon, Cineworld and Showcase – are offering autism-friendly screenings in many of their establishments, in collaboration with the organisation Dimensions.

Every month, each participating cinema shows a different film from a selection of new releases and classics including Pixar animations, Disney adventures and many more films suitable for all age ranges. There are also some showings particularly aimed at older viewers.

The screenings are autism-friendly in that:

  • The lights will be on low
  • The volume will be turned down
  • There will be no trailers at the beginning of the film
  • Customers are able to take their own food and drinks
  • Customers are able to move around the cinema if they wish

We are delighted to see this development that offers a less stressful cinema experience to families with complex needs.  It gives a boost to these families to enable them to go out as a family and enjoy an experience together in an environment that is geared towards their need for special care. It resonates with our philosophy of offering person centered care to each of our clients, enabling them to enjoy the good things in life as much as anyone else but without the misunderstandings that mental health issues can attract.

An excellent start to 2015, and we will give publicity in this blog throughout the year to any other initiatives which are designed to make life easier and more enjoyable for families with complex needs.

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