I recently got an email from Playhouse Square, our local theatre here in Cleveland, announcing that they are doing a sensory friendly production of the play Frozen.
If you aren’t familiar with sensory friendly productions, they are a dream come true for parents of kids with special needs. Sensory friendly movies, plays, areas of amusement parks etc., exist for kids who are easily overstimulated or overwhelmed by loud noises or fast moving things. But they also exist for kids who don’t always know how to reign in their noises or movements in a socially acceptable way.
My kids are now in their very late teens and early twenties but I still remember feeling like I had to apologize to the people around us in a movie theatre when we would go. Our oldest has the MOST AMAZING laugh. It is so contagious and pure. That said, it is not always appreciated by people around us in a movie theatre because, well, it is very loud.
I will never forget our first sensory friendly movie experience. The lights are not turned all the way down so kids don’t get too scared. The sound is not all the way up. Kids who need to move around are pacing or rocking outside their aisle. Kids who need to ask questions to their parents at full volume are able to, and kids like mine, who laugh with the loudest sincerity you can imagine, are not even glanced at.
For us, sensory friendly movies were at our local AMC theatre the first Saturday of every month. We planned our schedule around it for several years. I say it is lifesaving because for us, it was a way to go see the latest and greatest movies that our kids wanted to see but in a way that was completely stress free.
Plus, as you may know if you have a child with autism, they crave consistency. So going to the same theatre with the same “rules” each time we went was an additional part of this amazing experience for our family.
If this is something you think would benefit your loved one, just do an online search in your area and I hope you find fantastic results and options, not just at movie theaters but at other local area attractions for kids.