Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
Ah the cinema- giant screens, surround sound, confectionery counters, reclining chairs; a perfect treat in many respects (until you need to dash for the loo, or eat too much sugar! 😛 ).
But for many people with autism, a trip to the cinema can present a number of sensory challenges- the brightness of the screen and overly loud audio can be quite distracting for example.
In recent years, a number of cinemas have begun to host special sensory screenings for children with autism.
In case you hadn’t noticed from all of the autism on screen posts I write, I’m a bit of a film buff, so naturally when I saw that my local cinema was hosting a sensory screening of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul‘ I had to give it a try! 🙂
For anyone thinking of seeing the film, it’s not as good as the previous ones- the cast change didn’t really work! 😛
So what’s different about a sensory screening?
A sensory screening differs from the average cinema experience in the following ways:
- A special sheet of acetate (it reminded me of a giant plastic pocket) appeared to cover the usual backdrop to reduce the screen brightness
- There are no trailers (woohoo 😀 !)
- Sound levels are reduced
- The lights remain on throughout at a dimmed level
This last part was quite nice actually as I did not emerge from the cinema with the usual vampire-esque response to daylight! 😉
So what did I make of the experience?
Well, to be honest it was a little weird for me at first as someone who frequents the cinema quite regularly. I wasn’t expecting the lights to stay on, but you adapt pretty quickly. It was quite a pleasant transition to go from dark to light scenes without feeling blinded! 🙂
This did however, make it a little bit harder to see any of the night-time scenes which I found a tad distracting.
But all in all I found the experience quite nice and would highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with sensory issues 🙂
However, I would have a slight critique to make in the choice of sensory films that are shown. Any films that I have seen advertised as sensory friendly here in Ireland fall into the family friendly/childrens category. While it is brilliant that many children with autism are afforded the opportunity to attend these screenings, we often forget that children with autism grow into adults with autism, adults who may want to watch the latest Marvel or James Bond movie, or a racy rom com in sensory comfort.
As they say- a lot done, more to do.
Enjoy the weekend everyone! 🙂