Cinema becomes autism friendly

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Taking an autistic child to the cinema can be an exhausting experience, according to Berwick couple Lee and Jaci Johnston.

However, they will be able to sit back and relax when they take their four-year-old son, Nathan, to The Maltings’ first-ever autism friendly screening next month.

“This is fantastic news for parents with autistic and other disabled children,” said Lee, from Prior Park. “Any family with a child with ASD, ADHD, Aspergers and many other disabilities will know how hard it is to take their child to most venues where their behaviour is classed as unacceptable or frowned upon by others.”

The showing of Rio 2 on April 7 will include reduced sound levels, increased lighting, advert and trailer-free content and the freedom to move around and make noise.

Tamiko Mackie of The Maltings said: “This is a significant step in our efforts to be more inclusive. We look forward to welcoming anyone with autism or special needs and their families and carers.”

Elizabeth Brown, head teacher at The Grove School which Nathan attends, added: “This screening can make the whole cinema experience much more pleasurable and enjoyable for young people with additional needs.”