Sensory Friendly Films and Family Movies


at-the-moviesA special experience for any child is a visit to a local movie theater to watch a film with their family. For a child with special needs or a sensory processing disorder, a visit to a local movie theater isn’t the typical fun experience and may be filled with anxiety and fear. A dark movie theater may be scary to a child with special needs. If they are diagnosed with a visual impairment, they may not see the screen. Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or autism may be uncomfortable sitting in a movie chair for an extended period of time. Loud noises and bright images may also affect a child’s sensitivity to their surroundings. If it is a three dimensional or 3-D movie, an entirely different set of problems may occur including health risks and the potential for headaches or seizures.

3-D Technology in Movies, TV and Video Games Pose Health Risks

Luckily, more movie theaters recognize the sensory needs of these children. AMC Theaters is a leader in providing sensory friendly films to families of children with special needs across the US. AMC Theater auditoriums, through a partnership with Autism Society, have their lights brought up and the sound turned down. Families are permitted to bring in their own diet restricted snacks. There are no previews or advertisements and children with disabilities or special needs are welcome to get up to walk around, dance and even sing. Although the program was initially created to address the needs of children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the sensory friendly steps AMC Theaters has taken, makes it a more enjoyable experience for any child with a sensory processing disorder or disability. To find a theater near you, visit AMC Theaters Sensory Friendly Film Showings or the Autism Society.

As a community of parents, we also encourage you to share with us local or independent movie theaters that provide sensory friendly experiences. Share with and other parents of children with special needs show times and events in our Event section or feedback on your experience in our Forums.