Taft theatre helps children with autism enjoy the movies

Children with autism experience going to a movie

TAFT, Calif. - Autism and other sensory disorders can make a trip to the movies a challenging experience for many families, but a local theater is helping children and their families finally enjoy a good movie.

Kellie Tate is getting a chance to take her five year old brother, Jacob Owen to the movies for the first time.

"I think he's having a lot of fun.  He's sitting in there, he's smiling.  He's really happy. It's nice and he's around a bunch of other kids that are like him, too," she said.

Since Jacob is autistic his family is unable to take him to a movie theater because he often has problems standing still or staying focus, but Fox Theater in Taft is helping change that for him.

"I haven't heard of any place doing this for children with any disability so, I think it’s really sweet of them to do it," said Tate.

The theater is providing a sensor-friendly environment giving families an accepting and more comfortable setting.

"It helps them, in that a movie with the lights down and the sound really loud is over stimulating so, with the lights up and the sound a little lower, it's less stimulating and easier for someone with disorders to listen," said Pamm Clark of Fox Theater.

Preparing the movie theater to be sensor-friendly doesn't require any extra money or any additional staff.  It just requires some popcorn and a good movie to watch.

During the movie, members of the audience are invited to walk around, dance, sing or even bring their own snacks from home.

"It makes me really happy that we can serve this portion of the community.  Our feedback on Facebook has been that one family could'nt go to the theater together and now they can and we're providing something that's needed," said Clark.

If the special screening is something more people are interested in having in the community, leaders with the theater plan to continue providing more sensor-friendly shows.

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