Favourite films now available for autistic children

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 January 2012

View of Odeon Cinema, The Centre, Weston.

View of Odeon Cinema, The Centre, Weston.

Copyright Archant Ltd

CHILDREN from Weston and North Somerset who are dealing with autism will now be able to watch their favourite films, at private screenings at the Odeon.

Many young people who have been diagnosed as autistic find a night at the cinema difficult due to the volume and lack of space for movement.

But thanks to a new event, which takes place at the Odeon cinema, in Walliscote Road, Weston, those difficulties will be over so that they can sit back and enjoy a fun, social activity.

Mum Charlotte Smith, aged 36, of New Church Road, Uphill, said it is a fantastic idea for her seven-year-old son Tom, who has been told by doctors that he is autistic.

She said: “We have tried to take Tom to the cinema but had to leave pretty soon after, much to his disappointment.

“The volume, darkness and restricted movement made it a very unfriendly place for him to be, which is such a shame as he would love to see a film on the big screen and would laugh as loud as the next child.”

The Odeon has teamed up with Dimensions to create The Autism Friendly Films partnership. A spokesman from Odeon said: “The partnership aims to raise awareness of the sensory differences experienced by people and promote the cinema-going experience for people with autism and learning disabilities.

“As a result of the relationship, thousands of people now have better access and improved choice to watch films in an environment suitable to their needs, whereby lights are left on low, the volume is turned down, trailers are omitted and people can move around the cinema or make a noise as they feel comfortable.”

Charlotte said: “Other chains of cinema do special monthly showings but are unfortunately too far for us to get to. I think it’s a wonderful idea for Weston, not only for the children but also for parents to enjoy with their children.”

The screenings will take place once a month. The next private screening will be The Muppets on February 19 at 11.30 am.

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