Where to Find Sensory Friendly Movie Theaters

All opinions expressed herein are my own!

A few years ago my family tried to watch Ant-Man together and it was a disaster. We hadn’t taken our Autistic son to the movies in such a long time that we didn’t realize he wouldn’t like them anymore. (He is six now, and his last movie visit was when he was still a toddler.)

We left the theater for a quick drink refill, and upon walking back in he started covering his ears. Next, he refused to go back to our seats. I tried to distract him with popcorn but my teenagers had already polished it off without telling me — we spent the rest of the evening in the lobby waiting for our big kids to finish the film.

While we waited things got even worse as the theater attendant started setting up new movie lines. These new lines were blocking us into the bench we were sitting on and my son started screaming frantically. Another attendant noticed what was going on and asked if he had sensory overload in the movie. After I told her about his difficulties in the theater she asked her employer to provide us with “Re-Admit” tickets. These tickets are good for any show, and can be used at any time. They also told us that they are now offering “Sensory Friendly” show times. Sensory friendly movies are shown with the lights still partly on and the volume turned down to a more manageable level. Outburst are also permitted — you are not required to remove your child from the theater if one occurs.  I thought this was such a great thing that I had to share them with you.  Have you attended a sensory friendly showing before?  Check out these great theaters that offer sensory friendly events for Autistic viewers and those with SPD:

AMC Sensory Friendly Films Theater List

Sensory Friendly Films Theater List via the Autism Society

Want to see a movie with your child in the theater? If you aren’t sure about your local theater, call and ask. If they don’t offer Sensory Friendly Films, bond together with your local SPD and/or Autism Support Group to coordinate a showing. Offering enough pre-sale tickets for a private showing will allow you to make the request for lower volume and more lighting easier.

NOTE: Many theaters also have headphones available for those with hearing difficulties but they don’t advertise it. Try the headphones and see if that works too!

When was the last time your family watched a movie in the theater?


9 thoughts on “Where to Find Sensory Friendly Movie Theaters

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    Wow..I had no idea I’ll definitely find out about our local theaters so we can bring my grandson

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    It was nice of them to do that even though you were watching an adult movie.

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      Yes, they were very sweet. Although, I must say, while Ant-Man is PG-13, I’m not sure I consider it an “adult” movie. Most of your Marvel films are rated for teens, but many little boys love them anyway.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Best,

      Victoria

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    Wow that’s amazing a theater would do that. Acceptance for autistic children is come a long way. I have two nephews and a nice with autism.

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    This is wonderful that movie theaters are adopting to children who have autism. This is close and dear to my heart as I have a mild form of autism and I have a friend whose son was just diagnosed with autism.

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    Wow, this is Great News. My 3 year old son, who has just recently been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and high intellect Autism really wants to go see the new Disney Pixar Cars 3 movie, which would be his very first time seeing a movie at the theater. So, to be able to find a movie theater to fits his particular Sensory needs would be absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    We have never been to a theater to watch a movie 🙁

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