Hundreds of visits to autism-friendly film screenings in Kettering

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More than 400 visits have been made to autism-friendly film screenings at the Odeon cinema in Kettering over the last year.

Autism Friendly Film Screenings, organised by social care provider Dimensions in conjunction with the Odeon cinema group, was launched in August 2011 to create more inclusive environments for people who experience autism.

Since then, there have been a total of 403 visits to the special screenings in Kettering, held once a month at Kettering Odeon.

Autism Friendly Film Screenings are mainstream films shown in a sensory-friendly environment - lights are put on low, sound is turned down, trailers are omitted and people can bring their own food and make noise.

This Sunday, August 12, Kettering Odeon will show an autism-friendly screening of Dr Seuss: The Lorax at 11.30am, marking the first anniversary of the project.

Director of Practice Development at Dimensions, Lisa Hopkins, said: “The autism community have really embraced our project. This partnership has enabled so many people who experience autism to feel more involved in their community. It is all about inclusion and we are very pleased with the positive impact it has made to people’s lives.

“One in a hundred people in England and Wales are diagnosed with autism and it is essential society is adaptable to their needs – this project, we feel, is a huge step in the right direction.”

Stephanie Gill takes her nephew Aiden Nolan, four, who experiences autism and Asperger’s syndrome, along to screenings. He had never been to the cinema before he started attending the Autism Friendly Film Screenings.

Stephanie said: “He just loves going to the cinema. A normal screening is too dark for Aiden and he really appreciates being able to move around during the film.”

The project started as a one-off, with 3,222 people attending the first screening of Mr Popper’s Penguins last August in 40 Odeon cinemas nationwide.

Because the first screening proved so successful, Dimensions and Odeon decided to roll the screenings out to more cinemas on a monthly basis.

Roger Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Odeon Cinemas, said: “Odeon are committed to providing the best cinema experience for all of our guests and we are delighted with the success of our Autism Friendly screenings over the past 12 months.”

Tickets for this Sunday’s screening at the Kettering Odeon are now on sale. To book call the Odeon accessibility helpline on 0800 1383315.

For more information visit www.dimensions-uk.org/autismfilms