Autism Friendly Films Celebrate One-Year Anniversary
August 8, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
Dimensions, which aims to improve the cinema experience for people with autism, is celebrating a successful first year with Odeon.
It is a year since social care provider Dimensions launched its programme of Autism Friendly Film Screenings in partnership with Odeon cinemas. Since its launch in August 2011, the programme has spread to nearly 90 Odeon cinemas nationwide, enabling people who experience autism to have a more enjoyable cinema experience.
In its first year of existence, the programme has seen 21,561 visits to the autism-friendly showings. The programme has been well-received by families with experience of autism, and the huge success rate proves that there was a real need to improve access to cinemas for people with learning disabilities and autism.
The difference between standard film showings and Autism Friendly Film Screenings are that Dimensions show mainstream films in a ‘sensory friendly environment’. Trailers are removed, sound is turned down, lights are dimmed and people are able to bring their own food and drinks. Viewers are also allowed to make noise during the film, which enables particularly vocal autistic people to feel more comfortable.
Lisa Hopkins, director of practice development at Dimensions, said: “The cinema experience can be a challenging environment for people who experience autism, but we have proved that it is made accessible by good partnership working. We look forward to building on this in the future.” The two organisations, Dimensions and Odeon, have recently been shortlisted for a Third Sector Excellence Award in the corporate partnership category.
Film screenings are held monthly within the 90 participating Odeon cinemas. This month, a showing of the new family film Dr Suess: The Lorax (U) will be shown at 11.30am on Sunday August 12 to mark the programme’s one-year anniversary.
By Zosia Gamgee
[Image courtesy of Blue Square Thing]