Film fun helps Sheffield care group mark scheme anniversary

Undated Film Still Handout from The Lorax. See PA Feature FILM Film Review. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/UPI Media. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from The Lorax. See PA Feature FILM Film Review. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/UPI Media. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

GOING to the cinema is an experience most of us take for granted - but for those with autism it can be a battle.

That is why a Sheffield care provider is dedicating its time to organising special events to help those with the condition and similar learning disabilities enjoy the everyday things other people do.

Dimensions, a not-for-profit organisation, celebrated the first anniversary of its autism-friendly film screening scheme with a special showing of Dr Seuss: The Lorax at the city’s Odeon cinema.

As part of the project, movies are screened in an autism-friendly environment - without adverts, sound turned down and low-level lighting.

For people like David Swift, aged 70, of Mosborough, the scheme has opened a new door for them. He had never been to the cinema before the project started a year ago, but attended for the fifth time on its first birthday.

Dave O’Hanlon, Mr Swift’s Dimensions support worker, said: “David had never been to the cinema before and normally he would struggle to watch a film in the surroundings of an ordinary screening.

“Also, at other screenings, you are aware of other people around you, but because everybody else in these special screenings has the same sensory needs it’s much better.”

Lisa Hopkins, of Dimensions, said: “This has enabled many people who experience autism to feel more involved in their community.”

In another attempt to make community events more accessible to those with autism, Dimensions hosted a picnic in the park at Norfolk Park.

A host of people who receive support from Dimensions attended, taking along their picnics and playing games.

Holly Kitson, of Dimensions, said: “There was a positive atmosphere.”