As cinemas are often places that are not easily accessible, autism-friendly screenings (AFS) aim to make families feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed in an environment that can otherwise seem traumatic.

Families are able to enjoy a film in an environment designed for people on the autism spectrum, their friends and carers. During the film, low lights are left on inside the auditorium, the volume of the soundtrack is reduced and there should not be any trailers.

Cinema goers are free to move around, make a noise or take a break during the film if they need to - these are activities not usually encouraged at regular screenings.

Listed below are some organisations that The National Autistic Society (NAS) is working with, but others such as Odeon, Vue, Cineworld and Showcase also hold regular autism-friendly screenings.

Picturehouse

Picturehouse runs regular autism-friendly screenings at cinemas across the country. These take place on one Saturday or Sunday a month when they show a popular family film.

Picture house logo

Empire Cinemas

Empire cinemas have autism-friendly screenings. Select a local cinema then click on ‘Assisted Screenings’. The autism-friendly films will appear on that list when they are on offer.

If your local cinema is not offering an autism-friendly screening, please speak to the local manager.

Empire cinemas logo

Into Film

Film in schools and youth groups - Into Film can help you set up a film club that is accessible to autistic young people in your school, youth group or other setting, and can provide relevant teaching resources.

Into Film’s annual festival in November offers free autism-friendly screenings around the UK. The NAS has had opportunities to speak to young audiences about autism in cinemas around the UK.

UK Cinema Association

We work closely with the UK Cinema Association - an association that represents and acts on behalf of cinema operators. UKCA Disability working group has been instrumental in helping to push forward and steer cinema operators on best practice related to disability and access.

Autism-friendly screenings (AFS) are one the the greatest success stories of the UK cinema sector’s ongoing commitment to be as inclusive as possible and to find different ways to meet the needs of customers. This has been massively helped through the partnerships that have been formed with a variety of charities – including the National Autistic Society.

For more information please contact UKCA’s Policy Executive.

UK Cinema Association logo

CEA Card

The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA) for UK cinemas. The scheme helps participating cinemas to ensure they make reasonable adjustments for disabled guests. This may mean a carer coming to support them. Around 90 per cent of UK cinemas are supporting the scheme from the large national chains to smaller independent operators.

CEA sample card

 

More from the National Autistic Society

Holidays and days out 

Taking autistic pupils on a school trip