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Maze Runner: The Death Cure is Sensory Friendly Tuesday at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Maze Runner: The Death Cure sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, February 13th at 7pm (local time). Tickets can be as low as $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to Come in FebruaryBlack Panther (Tues 2/27); 

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Editor’s note: Maze Runner: The Death Cure has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly “Mature Audience” screening. Parents should be advised that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and some thematic elements.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Peter Rabbit is Sensory Friendly at AMC: Feb 10th & 24th

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Peter Rabbit on Saturday, February 10th & February 24th at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to Come in February: The Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Tues 2/13); Black Panther (Tues 2/27); 

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Editor’s note: Although Peter Rabbit has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for rude humor and action.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Teaching Your Special Needs Child How to Eat On Their Own

Children with special needs can take longer to learn how to eat independently. Read these top tips for mealtimes.

Eating a meal can be particularly challenging for children who have disabilities. A lack of fine motor skills (like finding it hard to hold a fork), sensory restrictions (like being paralysed or unable to see) and co-ordination difficulties are some of the many reasons that may delay the learning process. This can be frustrating for you and your child.

Author Deborah French has four children, two of whom have special needs. Her eldest daughter, Amariah, has Down’s syndrome and her son, Henry, has autism spectrum disorder. “Socialising with others generally includes eating together,” she says. “So learning how to eat neatly is crucial to helping our children to integrate.”

Deborah, who also runs cookery classes for children with special needs, came to realise that nagging her children about their table manners wasn’t working. Instead, she developed practical solutions to help them learn, with rapid results.

Deborah’s top tips for happy mealtimes

1. Be patient

“When stress or frustration controls your reactions while trying to teach your child, they will reflect your mood and act accordingly. They will fear your reaction to their mistakes, and as a result will not be able to give their best efforts. Give instructions calmly, with positive reinforcement.”

2. Invest in a funky child-sized apron

“As your child gets older, even though it may still be necessary for them to wear a bib to protect their clothing, this can also be demoralising and embarrassing in front of other family members or peers. An apron is more discreet and will help eliminate any negative feelings your child may harbour before mealtime has even begun.”

3. Encourage your child to help lay the table

“Irrespective of the nature of your child’s disability, take the time to involve them in preparing the table for dinner. Even watching you collect cutlery, cups and napkins helps your child to feel they have participated. During this process, talk your child through what you are doing and why. For example: ‘We use a fork to pick up pieces of food on our plate instead of our fingers. That way, the fork gets dirty and not our fingers’.”

4. Use heavy cutlery and solid crockery

“As parents, we instinctively opt for plastic or disposable utensils to avoid breakage and to make cleaning up easier. But for a child who has either low or high muscle tone or difficulty with their fine motor skills, a plastic fork simply feels like air. These children need to be able to feel the cutlery they are holding. The same is true for plastic plates and cups, which are unstable and easily knocked over. Solid cutlery and crockery will make it easier to teach your child how to eat.”

Read about other eating equipment that can help.

5. Take the time to eat with your child

“If you eat your evening meal later than your child, compromise by ensuring that during your child’s mealtime, you too are seated at the table. Even if you enjoy your coffee or a smaller version of what your child is eating, they will be encouraged by your presence. You can then talk about your food and how you eat with your cutlery. Take note of how quickly your child imitates your actions.”

6. Keep a standalone mirror and wet cloth handy

“The most effective way of teaching self-awareness to a child is to let them view themselves. Even as adults, how often after enjoying a meal with friends have we been unaware that a chunk of food, usually green in colour, has become wedged between our front teeth?

“Apply this theory when helping your child to understand food residue on their face after eating. Before they leave the table, place the mirror in front of them and encourage them to look at their reflection and clean themselves using the wet cloth.”

7. Encourage your child to clear their place

“Again, irrespective of your child’s disability, teach them how to participate in the cleaning up process after eating according to their ability. This may involve them handing their plate to you or taking it to the side to be washed; alternatively wiping their place clean as best they can. Any level of participation helps to develop their self-awareness and obligations at mealtimes.

“It’s important to remember that everyone likes to feel valued and needed. When you give your child responsibilities, they feel important to you and the family. This in turn boosts their self-confidence and speeds up the learning process.”

Read our interview with Deborah about parenting children with special needs.

Specialist eating and drinking equipment

To help your child learn good eating skills, you may find that specialist eating or drinking equipment will make a real difference. The Caroline Walker Trust, a food charity, recommends a number of helpful aids to eating that parents of children with learning disabilities may find useful for their child.

These include:

  • Different shaped cups, with one or two handles, of different weights, materials, transparencies and designs. The cups should be designed not to shatter or break if they are bitten.
  • A transparent cup can be helpful when helping someone to drink, because you can see how much liquid they’re taking.
  • Cutlery of differing shapes, sizes, depths and materials. Again, the cutlery shouldn’t shatter if it is bitten. Solid plastic cutlery or plastic-coated metal might be better for people who have a bite reflex when cutlery is placed in their mouth. Shorter-handled cutlery is easier to manage, and hand grips or irregularly shaped handles may help someone in using a utensil.
  • Plates and bowls that do not slip, have higher sides to prevent spillage, or are angled to make access to food easier.
  • Insulated crockery that keeps food hot if mealtimes are lengthy.
  • Non-slip mats that support crockery.
  • Straws, which can help those with a weaker suck and can have different widths.
  • Feeding systems that deliver food to the diner’s mouth through, for example, a rotating plate and a mechanical or electronically controlled spoon. Some systems are powered, others are hand- or foot-operated.

For more information and details of suppliers, visit the Living Made Easy website.

NHS Choices logo


From www.nhs.uk





Sensory Friendly Screening of Paddington 2, Tomorrow at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Paddington 2 on Saturday, January 27th at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in February: Peter Rabbit (Sat 2/10 & 2/24); The Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Tues 2/13); Black Panther (Tues 2/27)  

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Editor’s note: Although Paddington 2 has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for action and mild rude humor.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

How To Survive When Your Special Child’s Medical Needs Resurface

When my child was born she ended up with some potentially serious medical conditions. They turned out to be minor – really minor – but could have been much, much worse. The other day one of them reared its ugly head (and I mean ugly). Frankly, I had almost forgotten about this particular bugaboo but just like riding a bike, it all came back to me.

When it hit, I could hardly breathe. It seemed that all the progress we had made went right out the window, or maybe I had just imagined it all. I couldn’t believe that I had actually let myself forget all that we had been through and I was angry with myself because I had dared to let my guard down. Realistically you can’t really live with your guard up 24/7 year after year. I know that now that the moment has passed…

So, here are some things that help me get through when it seems that we have taken a step backwards:

Keep it in perspective

Things may not going well today but that doesn’t automatically mean they will continue to spiral down tomorrow, or next week. Everyone deals with ups and downs, no matter how perfect their lives may seem on social media.

Get yourself help

Ask friends or family to take on some tasks to lighten your load, or outsource the work if you can afford it. If the prognosis is truly dire, seek professional counseling or a support group even if you think you don’t need it. Parents and caregivers of kids with special needs sometimes have to be superhuman, but superhuman still has the word human in it. Sometimes we humans need help.

Take care of yourself

Eating and showering may seem pointless when dealing with your child’s medical crisis (no matter how small) but you can’t take care of your child if you don’t take care of yourself. Find time to keep up with good nutrition, basic hygiene and sleep. These things will help with your stress level and overall health so you can be at your best for your child.

Find your outlet

Don’t feel pressured to load up on yoga classes or whatever the latest exercise trend might be…unless yoga works for you, of course. Maybe washing your car is therapeutic for you, or you feel truly relaxed while brushing your dog. Find what helps you unwind, whatever that looks like for you. And when you find it, let me know what it is because I am still looking for mine!

12 Strong is Sensory Friendly Tomorrow Night at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of 12 Strong, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing 12 Strong sensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, January 23rd at 7pm (local time). Tickets can be as low as $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Still to Come in January: Paddington 2 (Sat 1/27); 

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Editor’s note: 12 Strong has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly “Mature Audience” screening. Parents should be advised that it is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for war violence and language throughout.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

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