The AMC And AutismINTERVIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | April 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm
It was with much excitement that I read of the partnership between AMC theaters and the Autism society of America. What does it mean to the families dealing with Autism? A gigantic step forward! The Sensory Friendly Film program and the Autistic employment program are both stellar winners. Explain further? Well yes I will. I spoke to Cindy Huffstickler, Community Relations Manager at AMC Entertainment, to help with clarification. The Sensory Friendly films would abandon the “Silence Is Golden” anthem, allowing children to the freedom to express without eliciting annoyance from other moviegoers. Also decreasing volumes and increasing lighting will allow for those sensitive to these to have a place that is understanding thereof.
There will also be a “respite area” for parents to help calm their child if need be. These G-rated movies will be screened once a month and, although currently at select theaters only, the list will be expanded based on resources available and need. This month the movie is “Hannah Montana, the movie” is being screened this Saturday. In the Boston area it is being shown at the Framingham theater, but check online for the location closest to you and don’t forget that your local chapter of the Autism Society has a wealth of information too. The next movie will be May 23rd “Night At The Museum 2“. With the pressure off the parents, families with autism can finally relax and enjoy a movie
According to a 2008 Easter Seals/Mass Mutual study, 76 percent of teenagers with autism over the age of 16 have never looked for a job. That is a huge percent when you take into consideration that it is said that 1 in 150 people are autistic. With assistance from experts in the field the ASA will support AMC in developing a workforce program in their theatres. Walgreens has also successfully implemented similar program. It is wonderful and promising to see the AMC step into a direction that will allow children with Autism to lead a life as independent as possible.