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Sensory friendly movie sessions for children with Autism

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Sensory movie session with lights up

What are Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings?

Children with Autism can experience greater sensitivity to lights, darkness, noise, and crowds. Many could not cope with the loud noises, the darkened theatre and all the people present in a movie theatre.

Once the lights go down, it can be really overwhelming for these children who can become stressed and anxious, they start to fidget, they make funny noises and try and leave their seats. This can be super stressful for parents who feel embarrassed or that they are spoiling the experience of other cinema-goers. Parents can feel 'judged' by other people when one of their children experiences sensory overload which they have to try and contain.

A sensory-friendly movie session is the answer for both parents and children. These sessions usually involve cinemas turning the volume down and leaving the lights up and audience members are free to get out of their seats and move around the theatre. Parents don't need to feel stressed about keeping their child contained and can feel comforted in knowing that the other parents in the cinema know exactly what their situation is.

Where can you find a Sensory Friendly Screening?

We have collected a few below. Let us know of any we can add.

  • Event Cinemas (National)
    Sensory friendly movies are held each Sunday at selected locations across Australia. Does not run in School holidays.
    Accessibility Info.
    Closed and Open Captions available.
  • Village Cinemas (National)
    Look for the orange "Sensory Friendly Film" icon sensory friendly next to the session times to see which cinemas and sessions are screening these films.
  • Hoyts Cinemas National
    Offer Sensory Screening, will need to check by location.
    Closed and Open Captions available
  • Ritz Cinemas (NSW - Randwick)
    Open Captions Sessions
  • Dendy (NSW - Newtown, Sydney, QLD - Coorparoo, Portside)
    Sensory friendly films are designed for families living with autism and other sensory needs.  
    Closed Caption Info
  • Wallis Cinemas (SA - Mitcham, Mt Barker, Noarlunga, Piccadilly, Mildura)
    Wallis cinemas offer sensory-friendly sessions for childrens' movies.
    Closed Caption and Visual Aid Sessions
  • Grand Cinemas (WA - Armadale, Bunbury, Currambine, Cygnet, Joondalup, Warwick)
    Various locations across WA. Hearing Impaired Assistance, Disabled Parking located at entrances, wheelchair access in all cinemas. Disabled toilet access. Lift access from Third Road entrance.
  • Classic Cinema (VIC - Elsternwick)
    Open Caption Sessions
  • Cameo Cinema (VIC - Belgrave) 
    Open Caption Sessions
  • Lido Cinema (VIC - Hawthorn) 
    Open Caption Sessions

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