Crashing sounds, flashing lights, the smell of food and being surrounded by strangers in a dark hall — all part of a movie treat — can add up to a sensory overload for children with autism. They may also feel a desire to move around or talk and, as a result, disturb other viewers.
Aware that those on the autism spectrum are more sensitive to noise, lights, darkness and crowds, GSC has introduced sensory-friendly movie halls for families with children who have special needs.
These halls are designed with adjustable sofa-style seats, a small play area in front, dimmed lighting and an audio level tuned to their needs. Families are allowed to bring in their own food and snacks, and have fun together in this safe space where patrons will not mind when someone decides to walk about or speaks loudly in the midst of a crucial scene.
GSC launched its first sensory-friendly screening at Tropicana Gardens Mall in Petaling Jaya on July 17. Part of the company’s autism initiative, these screenings will be held for special needs schools and homes on every second Sunday of the month.
In support of World Autism Month in April, GSC rescreened The Specials, a French film inspired by two men who run separate associations that aim to help young autistic people rejected by the system. It also showed British documentary filmmaker Jerry Rothwell’s The Reason I Jump, based on the book written by Naoki Higashida, a non-verbal autistic teenager.
Both films were screened at 28 cinemas nationwide and GSC donated RM1 for every ticket sold to selected autism organisations. Contact [email protected] to find out more about its complimentary sensory screenings.
This article first appeared on Aug 8, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.