Target: U.S. Movie Theaters and Museums
Goal: Offer services and events that make movie and museum experiences more comfortable and enjoyable for individuals with autism.
Most children love going to the movies or out for a day at the local museum. However, these activities can be quite overwhelming and challenging for children with autism spectrum disorder. More companies are offering autism-friendly events and resources for families, however all movie theaters and museums should offer services and events that make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for individuals with autism.
Some companies have already begun to implement these services. The Henry Ford Museum has partnered with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to begin offering online resources for families to prepare for their visit. Parents of children with autism can view menu options for their child’s dietary needs, and they can show their children examples of what they can expect to see and hear at the museum. The site also points out quiet areas for noise reduction, should the child need reduced sensory stimulation at any point during the visit. Staff members have also been trained on how to engage children with autism. AMC Theaters has also implemented autism days, when movies are shown with the theater lights up and the sound lowered, in order to make the movie more enjoyable for individuals with autism.
Although these few companies have set a positive example for others, there are still so many companies that have yet to offer autism-friendly services to their patrons. Urge other museums and movie theaters to offer these services and resources to families.
Dear Movie Theater and Museum Staff,
Visiting a museum or attending a movie showing can be quite overwhelming and challenging for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. With about 1 in 50 children being diagnosed with autism, it is ever more important to provide resources and events for individuals with autism, to make the experience your company offers enjoyable for persons with autism.
This can be achieved by providing resources for parents to prepare their children for what to expect in your museum, showing movies with the lights on and the sound down, placing noise-free zones on your museum map, and training your staff to successfully work with guests who have autism. Please implement these services so that all people, including individuals with autism, can experience and enjoy your services.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Greg O’Beirne via Wikimedia Commons