Kids love going to the movies. As a parent, I love the anticipation as Ellie giggles with excitement of going to watch a show. The sound, the big screen and the lights are difficult to resist. Going to the movies is really fun, no matter who you are and how old you are, right?
Actually, the excitement of a movie theater is not shared by all children, and therefore, not by all parents. Some of us have children with sensory issues, and a movie theater is an overload of sensory stimulation. Some of our kids simply cannot handle that as well.
A few weeks ago when we went to Lego Land, we decided to try their short movie theater type show. It was only 10 minutes long and we thought it would be a good indicator of weather or not Nina or Nichole could eventually handle going to a regular movie theater. They both made it through the first show, but there was no way they would watch a second how. Unlike Ellie who was loving it along with her friends.
The show was in 4D and there was no way they would have worn those glasses. Nina cried hard at the beginning and was begging to leave. It was too loud for her, and it was too dark. The only reason she stayed was because Ellie was staying. She took off her real glasses and buried her face on my shoulder, occasionally peeking at the show and laughing nervously at the funny parts. But it was loud for Nichole too, and her favorite word, "Scary" came out of her mouth every few seconds. Overall we felt they did really well, but those 10 minutes were as long as they could have handled.
Chatting with some of my wonderful Down syndrome friends, I discovered that there is such a thing as "Sensory Friendly Films." Encouraged by the Autism Society AMC has stepped up to the plate and there are several AMC locations where they offer the experience of a movie theater in a non-threatening, non-overload sensory way.
This is what they say in their website.
"The program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing! "
That sounds like something that we could try with Nina and Nichole! Do you want to know if there is an AMC theater close to you that offers a Sensory friendly Film? Just click here and see what is close to you!
Happy Movie Going!