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Family outings to the movie theater are a great way to get out with your children and spend a few hours laughing together. Millions do it every week. Yet, for families that have children with autism, a day at the movies can be a difficult, and sometimes impossible, ordeal. Too many parents have stories about their children disturbing other viewers, which often leads to being asked to leave the theater. That can be traumatizing for the child and parents. So what can we do?
Recently there has been a trend in sensory friendly films in certain theaters. These showings help to make the experience easier for kids and adults by leaving the lights dimmed, but not turned off, keeping sound reduced from the normal booming audio, and also encouraging kids to clap, talk, and even play in the theater! There are no worries about complaints or meltdowns; kids can behave how they need to.
Sadly, not every chain takes part in this new effort. While theater chain AMC started the sensory friendly shows trend, they are hardly the largest theater chain, making it difficult for many people to take part in these shows. We would like to see that change!
The largest theater chain in America, Regent Entertainment, does not offer sensory friendly showings. Chances are you have a Regent theater near you, and if they were to offer sensory friendly shows, the rest of the industry would most likely follow. This is the first step to making family movie days a wonderful and stress-free experience.
Ask CEO of Regent Entertainment Amy Miles to offer sensory friendly shows in their theaters so every family can enjoy a trip to the movies.
Dear Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles,
I am writing on behalf of the 3.5 million Americans on the autism spectrum who would love to be guests in your theater, but don't feel welcome.
For many families, going to see a movie is an entertaining way to spend time together. But for kids on the autism spectrum, the traditional movie experience can be overwhelming due to loud noises and the dark environment. For many families with kids on the spectrum, going to a movie theater together is simply not an option. Luckily, forward thinking theater chains have begun to offer sensory-friendly showings, allowing for even more guests, far more income, and providing a safe place for these families to take their children.
What we find disturbing is that, as the largest movie chain in American, Regent Entertainment can also you refuse to make the parents and children that are not able to take part in a traditional movie experience feel welcome. By refusing to acknowledging and welcoming them, you are not only being dismissive, you are missing out on what could create an enormous, new revenue stream. Creating a family friendly environment is simple and low-cost, and will go a long way in making people on the spectrum feel less stigmatized. Instead, guests at Regal Entertainment theaters feel they are not welcome to come see a show if their child is on the spectrum.
There are so many families with children on the spectrum who would love to become your regular customers. Please follow the lead of other major theater chains and help make families with children on the spectrum feel welcome in your theaters by providing them with sensory-friendly screenings.
Thank you for your time.