SILVER SPRING, Md.– AMC/Loews RIO Cinemas 18 is partnering with the Autism Society to bring the Sensory Friendly Films program to the public.
“AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!” announced AMC Theatres, the American movie theater chain.
The Autism Society was partners up for this program to “increase public awareness of autism, advocate for appropriate services and provide the latest information on treatment, education, research and advocacy,” says the organization on their website.
This program serves “as a special opportunity for individuals living with autism and others to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis.”
During the movie, the lights are only dimmed, the sound is slightly lowered, families are allowed to bring needed dietary snacks and AMC’s “Silence is Golden” policy is not enforced.
Sensory Friendly Films also provides a great opportunity for families to meet and for other children to gain awareness and acceptance about autism.
Sensory Friendly Films was created in 2007 when Marianne Ross took her daughter Meaghan to a movie in which the manager asked her to leave, due to Meaghan’s reactions during the movie.
Upset at the poor experience, she asked her local AMC Theatre to set up a special screening for children on the autism spectrum.
Its manager, Dan Harris, added adaptations to make the screening more sensory friendly and Ross spread the word to her local Autism Society Affiliate.
Three hundred people showed up to the first screening.
He later held three monthly sensory friendly movies and contacted AMC headquarters to share the idea.
Cindy Huffstickler, AMC Community-Relations Manager, contacted the Autism Society of America and mobilized affiliates and theatres in the U.S.
Since then, the Sensory Friendly Films provided an entertaining and special experience for families across the country.
This year, the Sensory Friendly Film program has been expanded to four showing per month.
Movies will be shown on the second and fourth Tuesday and Saturday of every month.
Family friendly movies will start at 10 a.m. local time and Tuesday showings at 7 p.m. is added to appeal to mature audiences not on the autism spectrum.