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Autism friendly cinema and my low functioning ds

(36 Posts)
jess1975 Wed 26-Feb-14 20:21:21

My ds is almost four with low functioning autism. At the weekend for the first time we decided to take him to see tinkerbell with our dd (10) at our local cinema which was an autism friendly showing.

He has so little understanding of language that he wouldn't know he was even in a cinema or what a cinema is or how to behave appropriately. Communication levels are at one year old. He would have no concept of a storyline. However we want him to have new experiences. Anyway luckily there were only about ten families at the showing (mostly older kids) and some of the children during the performance shuffled around as expected. We took our ds in to the cinema in his maclaren major otherwise he just wouldn't have sat still even for a few mins. We were close to the front and after about 45 mins in which he had been fairly well behaved as we fed him popcorn etc lol he kept moving my hand to his straps to be released. After a while he was getting quite agitated and I let him out. He was delighted! He spent the next 30 mins walking and jumping around the cinema at the front (there was no one seated in this area) and had an absolute ball just enjoying the sensory element of the big screen.

My question is did I do the right thing by letting him out? Should I just have removed him from the film? Would other parents think I was setting a bad example to their children of how not to behave in the cinema. It was nice to be able to go on a family outing that my dd was able to enjoy also but maybe trips to the cinema are a little ambitious just yet even if they are autism friendly showings! What do you think?

zzzzz Wed 26-Feb-14 20:31:06

I wouldn't have minded at all. The first time we went with ds1 he lay on the stairs for the first 20 mins. one of the bits i like best is three little boys from separate families all dancing to the titles at the end, and that there are several families like ours that have to stay till the last credit has finished. grin

Enjoy, you are with your own kind! grin

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 26-Feb-14 20:36:06

If you don't mind my DS2 pointing out every single continuity error and plot weakness in a stage whisper, then I don't mind your DS enjoying the cinema experience in his own way.

PolterGoose Wed 26-Feb-14 20:48:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youarewinning Wed 26-Feb-14 22:01:08

Not at all. Sounds like he loved it. And great that he communicated to you he wanted to get out. Looks like you've found another family activity you can all enjoy.

Smartiepants79 Wed 26-Feb-14 22:05:29

Of course you did the right thing. If you're going to have issues with children behaving in this way you don't go to autism friendly showings.
I hope he enjoyed it.

Julia2132009 Thu 27-Feb-14 00:00:43

Thanks for this thread. I have not really thought of the cinema as feasible for my ds before but you have inspired me to look for an autism friendly screening.

OneStepForwardTwoBack Thu 27-Feb-14 10:05:10

Yes, thanks from me. I am a bit scared to go, in case the other parents judge me!!! Personally, I don't mind what the other kids get up to. If a few are up walking around and making noise, whatever really, I would probably just be relieved and feel more relaxed. But I'm not sure if I'm in the minority feeling like that?!!

zzzzz Thu 27-Feb-14 10:38:44

Don't be worried AT ALL. It's easy and very non judgemental.

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 10:52:59

You did exactly the right thing. DH often takes DS1 to the Dimensions viewings and there's always a few children there make their presence known! There was one girl had to check out the numbers on the back of every seat. There was a boy in, another time, with loud verbal tics. There's always kids watching the film hidden behind a DSi, iPhone or similar.

DS1 is quite high functioning and 10yo, but even he has only just reached the stage when he's not asking how long is left and generally fidgetting and bouncing around, by the time the film is halfway through.

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 10:54:31

Julia - check out the Dimensions website. Odeon, Cineworld, Showcase and Vue all have autism Friendly viewings, once a month, now.

theDudesmummy Thu 27-Feb-14 10:58:05

I have taken my DS a couple of times, he only stayed about half an hour before emphatically packing his stuff up and leaving, and he spent a lot of the time he was there roaming around and sometimes humming, but he seemed to enjoy it (and liked the popcorn!). The point is that no-one should be judging anyone else's way of enjoying the experience, so keep going! I intend to!

One point one of my ABA tutors made was that it might be better to take DS near the end so he stays to the end and gets the point that when the film stops that is when we go, rather than leaving in the middle. I may try that next time...

theDudesmummy Thu 27-Feb-14 10:59:20

There are lots of cinemas who do on the last Saturday of every month, I would definitely encourage people to go. This kind of inclusive attitude by commercial companies must be encouraged!

theDudesmummy Thu 27-Feb-14 10:59:56

Sorry, last Sunday of each month not Saturday.

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 11:33:07

Schedules listed here (not easy to find on site, unless oyu know where to look),27QFZ,6VW1EG,80KBG,1

Details for March (taken from email)

The Lego Movie 2D on Sunday 2nd at Cineworld
Mr Peabody and Sherman on Sunday 9th at Showcase
The Lego Movie 2D also on Sunday 9th at ODEON
and then Moshi Monsters at Vue on Sunday 30th March.

theDudesmummy Thu 27-Feb-14 11:44:31

Oh yes sorry, I was just thinking of the dates for Vue (which is where we go). Don't listen to me, go to the website!

OneStepForwardTwoBack Thu 27-Feb-14 13:05:33

Thanks. I have just as much anxiety in front of special needs parents as I do the lovely, judgemental normal parents who are so pleased with themselves and their wonderful offspring lol. Lego movie sounds good, I really much pluck up courage. Perhaps we could keep this thread going and share how we get on?

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 13:08:35

We're hanging on for the Minions movie, when it's released, and will probably take DS2 to that one!

Will have to take something other than popcorn, though. I gave him some at half term and he ate about 3 pieces then gave the packet back to me.

OneStepForwardTwoBack Thu 27-Feb-14 13:12:59

I think you can take in your own food/snacks - that is probably the way to go for me, I might need to take a large bag!!

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 13:19:13

DH normally takes a bag full with DS1. He buys the £1.50 bags of popcorn from Sainsburys instead of the ridiculous prices the cinema charges. Means we can scan ingredients lists, too. The Odeon's quite late in the morning, so they sometimes take an M&S sarnie in.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Thu 27-Feb-14 13:31:51

I would LOVE to take my kids to these screenings. I would love to be able, hopefully, to start to get to know other parents who have children on the spectrum. I'd love to not be micromanaging their behaviour to make them 'fit in', iyswim. Maybe my kids would even make some friends!

But they both - my youngest in particular - HATE other people's noise.

Which is a bit funny since my youngest is SO noisy. He will be making all the racket but has zero tolerance of anyone else making noise! He also stims but can't tolerate others stimming.

He would hate the lights to be left on because the 'rule' in the cinema is lights off.

The skinflint in me particularly loves the fact that you can bring your own food in! grin

ouryve Thu 27-Feb-14 14:47:14

DS1 is like that, ISee. He really in particular hates his own brother's stimming and noise!

He copes well, though. You normally get plenty of space, as the venues aren't packed out and DH says there's no more noise and annoyance than at normal screenings full of people chattering, chomping and scrunching sweet wrappers.

OneStepForwardTwoBack Thu 27-Feb-14 15:34:28

I have just made a mental note to take something quiet for my son to eat. He is a big fan of Dorities lol.

SisterChristina Thu 27-Feb-14 16:23:41

DH takes ds1 nearly every month to our local odeon. It's always v quiet, which is a shame in a way as I would hate it to be cancelled through lack of interest.

DH used to be self conscious as ds is often the only one making noises but I set him straight! It has to be the whole point of these showings, that kids like ds1 can go and enjoy a film.

DH took dd and ds2 to a 'normal' showing of Mr Peabody last week and said it was much less civilised grin. Lots more noisy kids and endless loud rustling of butterkist-type popcorn bags and bags of sweets

LetZygonsbeZygons Thu 27-Feb-14 17:45:50

what exactly does autism friendly mean? DC is autistic and struggles at other sorts of showings, mainly because of the crowded room and the loudness of the film and all the lights are off.
Does AF have the lights on? lower volume? less people?

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