Going to the movies is a great way to get the family out of the house and enjoy time together while watching the newest pictures coming to the big screen near you. However, for families with loved ones on the spectrum, going to the movies can be a challenging experience ranging from mild discomfort to downright anxiety inducing. While there are many businesses that do their best to accommodate audiences with sensory needs, there just aren’t always enough accommodating showings or they aren’t showing the movies that your loved one wants to see. Here are some tips Lexington has gathered to make going to the movies easier for those with sensory needs.
1. Start Early –
The first tip to make going to the movies easier to start taking children and young ones to the theater earlier, rather than opting for later. First of all, it’s easier to build an understanding of the social expectations at a movie theater when kids are younger. Second, strangers are more likely to be forgiving of younger children and their behaviors. Unfortunately people aren’t always understanding and as a young person ages, behavioral expectations go up.
2. Practice At Home –
Social situations are always easier for kids with autism and other disabilities when you practice at home. You can set up seating like a movie theater, take tickets, pop popcorn and create an immersive experience for kids with autism. You should lower the lights like they do at any theater and play the movie at a louder volume that your child can handle in preparation for the volume at the theater.
Furthermore, you can craft a social story that visually explains the process of going to the movies and what the social expectations are when going to the movies. This the easiest way to explain what’s going to happen and what your child should expect from the experience.
3. See A Film That Has Been Out For A Bit –
As much as you might want to get out and see the newest movie or the surprise hit, those films are often full of the most people and usually have the most intense ads and trailers running with them, making new movies more difficult for people with autism to attend. Instead, it’s easier to seek out the movies that have been running for a little while. They draw less of a crowd and they are often in smaller theaters that are less likely to cause sensory overload.
4. Plan Your Trip –
Hot spot movie theaters, especially those in high foot traffic areas like malls, tend to be more overwhelming when you are going to the movies. Instead, it’s easier to look for neighborhood theaters that don’t receive as much foot traffic, so they’re less likely to be crowded. You will have less lines to stand in and more optimal seating choices to sit further away from strangers.
5. Bring a Jacket And Snacks –
You want to bring a jacket when going to the movies for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the theater can get pretty cool once the lights go down low, so your child might need to keep warm. Also, a hoodie can provide some sound padding against the volume of some movies.
6. Plan For Success, But Understand The Struggles –
Not every trip is going to be the most easy, but you should look at every moment as a success when it comes to this type of activity. Even if you only make it through a part of the movie before your child gets overwhelmed, that’s a start that can be built upon.
When you need a partner to help you through some of the situations that no one has answers for, Lexington can be your partner. Do you have questions about disability services that we provide? Reach out to us today by calling 480-900-1009.