Nfld. & Labrador

Mother of autistic child upset that cinema not showing sensory-friendly films

A summer without sensory-friendly movie screenings isn't sitting well with the mother of an autistic child in Corner Brook.
Anissa Bennett would like to see sensory-friendly movies return to the Cineplex theatre in Corner Brook, something she used to regularly enjoy with her autistic son Dylan. (Submitted by Annissa Bennett)

A summer without sensory-friendly movie screenings isn't sitting well with the mother of an autistic child in Corner Brook.

In the past, family movies were shown at the Cineplex theatre, formerly Empire Theatres, with the lights up and the sound down. The idea is to make it easier for those with autism to watch the films without being overwhelmed by stimuli.

However, Cineplex put the screenings in Corner Brook on hold for the summer, citing extremely low attendance.

Anissa Bennett's six-year-old son Dylan has autism and she regularly attended the special screenings with him. 

She said those outings meant a lot to her and Dylan.

"He likes the social interaction of going to a movie," she said.

"I know that might sound funny, social interaction. You're just sitting there, but he likes to go around, and he wanders — and people don't mind the children wandering, they're expecting things like that. It's a time out for us."

Also has concerns over movie selections

Bennett also said that even when the movies were still being shown, some of the choices weren't exactly family friendly.

"The last couple of movies were actually adult movies, like San Andreas and Avengers," she said.

"It seems like it's children that go to these movies, so there probably wasn't much attendance to the adult-type movies that had language and violence."

In an email to CBC News, Cineplex said despite extremely low attendance, it does plan to bring the program back in the fall, starting with the kid's movie Hotel Transylvania 2.    

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