Our children’s disabilities can make it hard to access activities that many take for granted, like going to the cinema. Luckily in Sheffield we have a number of cinemas who hold inclusive or autism-friendly screenings on a regular basis:
Cineworld Sheffield has an autism-friendly screening on the first Sunday of each month at 11am.
The Odeon has an autism-friendly screening around the third Sunday of the month, and is currently trialling autism-friendly screenings for older audiences once a month.
The Showroom Cinema has its Kids Inclusive Cinema, KIC Start, on the third Sunday of the month at 1pm.
Vue Meadowhall hold their autism-friendly performances on the last Sunday of every month at 10am.
These are screenings in a relaxed environment, where people understand the needs of children with autism and their families. Lights are left on low, the sound is turned down, and there are no trailers or advertisements. People are free to move around and sit where they like, there is disabled access and there may be a chill-out zone.
Details of these performances, and prices, are on the individual cinema websites, although sometimes it can be a little difficult to find the details – ring the cinema if in doubt. Prices vary, from normal prices to subsidised prices.
If you have a Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA) card for your disabled child or young person, then a carer accompanying them can attend the screening free of charge, at most cinemas. The CEA card is available for people who get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and who are eight years old or over. It is valid for one year, there is a £6 processing fee and they will need to see a copy of the awarding letter of the benefit. A photograph of the holder (the person with the disability) will be required. It can be applied for online, by post, or by a combination of the two methods. See their website or call 01244 526 016 for more information.
Many of these screenings are funded by the Dimensions group, a not-for-profit provider of services for people with autism. Dimensions also have a very useful social story on their websiteabout going to the cinema. This can be customised for each particular film and cinema visited, to help your child to know what to expect on a trip to the cinema.