Kids with autism enjoy rare evening at the movies

By Arielle Clay

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - April is Autism Awareness month.  On Saturday, a group that works with kids and adults diagnosed with autism hosted a morning at the movies.

Going to a movie is an activity that can be hard for people with Autism but a few adjustments can make it a different experience.

"We've walked out of several movies before," Mallie Knox said.

Mallie's son Knox is autistic.  Movies shown in theaters are often too overwhelming for Knox and he has a hard time following certain rules of the theater like sitting quietly.

"You want everybody else in the movie theater to enjoy the movie as well.  You do sometimes get some looks and there is pressure to leave that I feel.  I'm like ok if he's not going to be still and talk softly we are going to have to go." Mallie said.

But for Saturday's showing of "How To Train Your Dragon" Mallie and Knox will stay right where they are.  The movie showing is specially tailored for Knox and other kids like him.

"To go to a movie is really uncomfortable a lot of times for these children and families. Today the no hush rule doesn't apply, the lights are going to be turned up just a little, the sound isn't going to be too loud, and instead of a 3D movie it's going to be 2D," Rebecca Sibley said.

Sibley works with the Glenwood Autism and Behavior Health Center.  She helped organize the event as a part of Autism Awareness Month.

"One of the deficits people with autism have is a socialization deficit so we are trying to help them socialize and be integrated into the community," Sibley said.

Another feature of the special movie showing was that no concessions were sold and parents were allowed to bring in snacks for their kids."

"I feel like I can sit back and relax and let them enjoy the movie," Mallie said.

Children's Hospital and Mitchell's Place also helped organize the movie showing.

Another activity for the awareness month is a night out at a Baron's game.

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