The first movie I saw in a movie theater? Pete’s Dragon. Still one of my favorites, and why, yes, I can sing every note of it. My first rated R movie? Chevy Chase in Vacation. My uncle took my brothers and me while he was babysitting us over a long weekend. Needless to say, he was not asked to babysit again. Ever. My first date movie? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Can’t remember the boy, but the movie was fantastic!
My point – convoluted though it may be – is that movies hold an important place in our lives and memories. I remember all of these movie outings – they were important milestones in my life, and I imagine that my kids will also have “movie memories” as they grow older.
Kids with conditions such as Aspergers or Autism, who can be very sensitive to sensory stimuli, are often denied the typical childhood movie experience. But now, there are movies theaters in CT and across the nation that are offering sensory friendly viewings of specific children’s movies.
Sensory friendly screenings are viewings in which the volume is greatly lowered, and the lights are dimmed but not turned out. Patrons are allowed to bring their own snacks so that dietary restrictions can be easily maintained, there are no previews, and viewers are welcome to get up and move about and talk throughout the film.