A recent blog described how many cinemas are now offering special screenings for families with one or more autistic children. These screenings offer a less stressful cinema experience to families with complex needs, enabling them to go out as a family and enjoy an experience together in a safe environment.

Building on this theme, we wanted to focus on three of the films that are currently being shown in these screenings and explore why they may be particularly suitable for children with autism:


Paddington bear has long had a passion for everything British, despite living deep in the depths of the Peruvian jungle with his Aunt Lucy. When their home is suddenly wiped out by a devastating earthquake, Paddington’s Aunt decides to ship him off to London – somewhere an English explorer she once met had always recommended as a place of opportunity. When Paddington finally arrives at a London train station, lost and alone, with only a briefcase and a label round his neck which reads ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’, he begins to wonder if England is such a great place after all. However, luck is on his side when he is taken in by the kind hearted Brown family.

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life in a thrilling new stage adaptation by Bryony Lavery. On a dark, stormy night Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and her dangerous voyage begins.

Penguins of Madagascar

Four popular penguins – Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private – from the film Madagascar are back, and find themselves at the helm of their very own spy film! They are enlisted to join the services of The North Wind – a super elite, top secret and massively undercover task force – led by the aptly named Agent Classified. His mission is to help animals who aren’t able to help themselves and the task force must stand against the sly, cunning and villainous Dr Octavius Brine who has plans to destroy the world!

As we explained in our previous blog, the environment is especially tailored for autistic children in that the sound will be softer, the lights will be left up at a low level and audience members will be allowed to make noise and also to sit wherever they feel comfortable. But what about the films themselves? These three very different films have been carefully chosen to avoid an excess of darkness, flashing lights and noisy sound effects that autistic children can find upsetting. Each film tells its own fascinating and engaging story, and features characters that the children are likely to be able to relate to. The films also contain lots of pictorial details, which many autistic children enjoy as they can often be extra perceptive and think very visually.

It is also to be hoped that offering families with complex needs the opportunity to see new films will both reduce the divide between them and other families, and will also be a factor in helping autistic children to figure out the world around them.

At Freedom Care we welcome any initiative to help families with complex needs and in future blogs will update you on the progress of autism screenings and will also focus on initiatives in other sectors as we become aware of them. If you would like any help or advice with specialist health care needs in your own family do get in touch with us and we would be delighted to help point you in the right direction!

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