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Autism society and local theater hosting sensory friendly movie screenings this summer

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- For adults and parents with children on the autism spectrum, going to the movies can be an overwhelming experience. That's why the Autism Society of Alabama has partnered with AMC Valley Bend 18 to bring sensory friendly screenings to Huntsville.

Todd Tomerlin is the Autism Society of Alabama's North Alabama program director. He explained what a sensory friendly movie screening looks like.

"The lights are turned up a little bit, the sound's turned down a little bit, the children are allowed to move around the theater. It makes just such a big difference because obviously you can't do that in a typical showing because you'll disturb everybody," he said.

Tomerlin said those changes make a huge difference to people on the autism spectrum. He remembers one experience with a mom of twin boys.

"She stopped to tell me, 'Thank you very much. This is the first time we've ever been to a movie' and her boys were about 7. So that's the kind of impact that these movies have," he said.

But the screenings aren't just for parents and kids. They're for people of all ages, like Tomerlin's 17-year-old son.

"I'm sure it makes him feel quite comfortable in that environment, to be able to move around if he needs to, or run around a little bit. So for the older ones I think it's even more important than for the smaller ones," said Tomerlin.

He said everybody who attends sensory friendly screenings, just understands.

"That's why it's so important for us to be able to do it for our community. And it's not just for autism, anybody, any disability that has sensory issues, we welcome them to come," said Tomerlin.

The Autism Society of Alabama wants to thank AMC Valley Bend 18 for hosting these movies.

The sensory friendly movies are four times a month, every Saturday at 10:00 am and Tuesday at 7:00 pm. They will run through the summer, until August 8th.

For a full list of movies and dates, you can click here.

For some autism resources that might be helpful you can visit:

http://makingconnectionsasd.org/index.php/en/

https://www.autism-alabama.org

https://www.facebook.com/fitting-the-pieces-228778763853746/