As any parent of a child with special needs can tell you, it is oftentimes difficult to find fun, family oriented places that are welcoming to our children (outside of our own homes, that is). Whether we are concerned that the places we go may be too overwhelming or unable to accommodate our child’s needs, or concerned that our child’s unique behaviors may disturb others around us who do not understand our personal situation, it can definitely be a challenge.
Fortunately, however, some companies are working with special needs organizations to change that reality for our families. In recent years, organizations such as the Autism Society, have joined forces with AMC theaters across the country to introduce Sensory Friendly Films. These are movie screenings that are geared specifically for children with special needs.
For instance, during the movie, theater lights are turned up and the movie sound is turned down. AMC’s traditional “Silence is Golden” policy is not enforced. Children are welcome to get out of their seats as needed, and AMC staff are trained regarding special needs accommodations. You can even bring your own snacks if you wish.
AMC theaters in the Bay Area that offer these screenings are AMC Cupertino Square 16, 10123 Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014 and AMC Mercado 20, 3111 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054. Hopefully more Bay Area theaters will follow suit. To find out where there may be a Sensory Friendly Film theater in your area, visit the Autism Society website at www.Autism-Society.org.
Familes of children with special needs can also enjoy a free movie night at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco (Pier 39) on Friday, August 26, 2011 from 5:30-8:00. The featured film will be “Finding Nemo” 🙂 Offered by Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD), families can come out and enjoy a free movie night with popcorn, food and refreshments, then afterward check out our underwater friends in the aquarium. The aquarium is easily reached by car or public transportation. Parking and public transportation information can be obtained at www.aquariumofthebay.org.
To register your family for this event or to find out more about SFCD services, call 415-920-5040 and check out their website @ www.supportforfamilies.org.