by Josh Kimball
- Sitting through a movie, a dinner or even taking a short jaunt to the mall can often pose a challenge to kids on the autism spectrum. And their parents? Even picnics can be no picnic. That’s why autism-touched families are happy to see the lights go up on Sensory Friendly Films, screenings of kids’ movies specially optimized for the unique sensitivities of kids on the spectrum: The lights are left on, the sound is kept low and no one ever gets shushed.
- Autism-friendly screenings are rolling across the country, but AMC Entertainment is one of the chains that’s leading the way. The Mall of America’s AMC theater, for instance, offers free sensory-friendly movie screenings every Saturday morning, and they’re beginning to draw crowds.
- We’ve also witnessed sensory-friendly showings pop up elsewhere across the globe. Theaters in the UK and Australia have also begun to offer Autism-friendly screenings of kids’ films.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Families affected by autism — or those with other special needs to consider — don’t want to be isolated from the community or the culture at large. They want access and experience like anyone else. And businesses who honor and accommodate their needs will build community and earn serious loyalty.
- Experience your retail environment (and even your product) with fresh eyes: What senses does your store or product leverage or appeal to? How do kids experience your offering? How about people with sensory sensitivities?