The latest autism friendly film screening comes to Blackpool on Sunday.
Dimensions, a leading not-for-profit autism and learning disability provider has announced the results of a public survey which calls for shops, restaurants and supermarkets to become more accessible to people with autism.
Two hundred and fifty people took part in the online poll nationally during autism awareness month, voting for public spaces that they would like to see become more inclusive and sharing views around autism friendly environments.
Dimensions has been championing autism friendly environments which has so far led to the launch of their Autism Friendly Films partnership with Odeon in Blackpool and more than 80 cinemas across the UK.
These special monthly screenings enable people to watch newly released films in an environment where they feel more comfortable. Lights are left on low, the volume is reduced and people can move around the cinema and make noise as they feel comfortable.
The next Autism Friendly Film will be a screening of Beauty and the Beast (pictured) at Odeon Blackpool at 11.30am on Sunday.
Building on the success of the cinema campaign, Dimensions plans to use the online poll results to help advise more businesses on the types of environmental factors that people with autism may find challenging and what simple but effective alterations they can make to become more accessible.
The online poll showed that restaurants were voted as the place most people would like to see made more accessible with 32 per cent of people making it their preferred choice. Supermarkets received 27 per cent of the vote followed by leisure centres (17per cent), shops (10 per cent), theatres (nine per cent), events such as fireworks displays or sporting events (four per cent) and banks with one per cent of the vote.
Dimensions’ autism lead, executive director of practice development, Lisa Hopkins, said: “Accessibility is not just about wheelchairs and ramps.”
Hairdressers, swimming pools, shoe shops and libraries were amongst some of the other suggestions made with one mother of an autistic boy explaining that they had to “live in a bubble unless there is an autism friendly event that suits – of which there are not many.”
Dimensions is hoping that the survey results will lead to a wider debate about how environments can be adapted in order to make them less challenging for someone that experiences autism and would like businesses and organisations in Blackpool to consider the ways that they can become more accessible by visiting www.dimensions-uk.org/yourautismfriendly