Entertainment, News

Cineplex And Autism Speaks Offering “Sensory-Friendly” Movies

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Movie theatre. Image: Fernando de Sousa
Movie theatre. Image: Fernando de Sousa

Now, kids with autism can have a better experience going to the movies. That’s because some theatres are now offering “sensory friendly” movies.

“Autism,” is a disorder that affects many people, including about one in 68 children. There is a wide range of characteristics, but some people with autism may have difficulty in communicating and may be more sensitive than other people, to “audio and visual stimulation.” Movies that are loud or are in 3D can be uncomfortable to people with autism.

That’s why Autism Speaks, a group that helps people with autism, is teaming up with the movie theatre chain, Cineplex, to offer the special movie showings.

The movies will be shown in 2D rather than 3D, the lighting in the auditorium will be less dark, the sound will be a bit lower than normal and fewer people will be in the audience. All of these things will help to make people with autism feel more relaxed so they can enjoy the movie more.

The theatres will also have a “calm zone” for families who want to take a break from the movie. Cineplex will also allow families to bring in outside food (“to accommodate dietary restrictions,” according to a Cineplex news release), which normally isn’t allowed in theatres.

The “sensory friendly screenings” are in certain Canadian theatres at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. The first movie screened this way was The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. The movies will be listed on Cineplex’s website, http://www.cineplex.com.

Children attending the movies, and all of the people attending with them, only have to pay the child-price.

For more information on Sensory Friendly Screenings, visit Cineplex.com/SensoryFriendly.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Create a movie poster for Sensory Friendly Screenings to advertise this new type of movie experience. Make sure you include information about the screenings and why people should come and enjoy them. 

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
This article explains how Cineplex is making accommodations in movie theatres, such as showing movies at a lower volume and including a calming area, so that people with autism can enjoy movies more comfortably. Can you think of another venue where accommodations could be made so that people with autism could have a better experience?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Language Feature: Scare Quotes
Scare quotes are used to emphasize a word or a phrase. Scare quotes are used several times in this article (for instance, around “sensory friendly” and “autism.”) Why do you think the journalist chose to emphasize these specific words or phrases?

How does the use of scare quotes change how you read the article?