Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
Attending the movies should never be a stressful event, but for Families with special needs children this type of outing can lead to anxiety.
The Fort Knox Army Community Service’s Exceptional Family Member Program and AAFES will begin providing sensory-friendly movies this Saturday at Waybur Theater at 2 p.m.
“Sensory friendly is for people with sensory-processing difficulties,” explained Stacey Haynes, the EFMP coordinator. “(We will) keep the lights on, the volume turned down and the idea of ‘silence is golden’ is thrown out.”
Haynes added for children with autism sometimes overstimulation can create problems and when watching movies the loud noises can sometimes be intolerable.
“(It’s) not a pleasant experience,” she said. “It (can) cause frustrations.”
The frustrations Haynes said happen when a child is upset if people in the theater are displeased if they begin talking. These movies will take away those kinds of barriers.
She said the idea for the movies came from surveys that were sent out to EFMP parents. Haynes asked parents if there were things that can be done to improve the program or what they would like to see offered from the program. Haynes also pointed out that the movies aren’t only for special needs children; the loud noises can also frighten small children.
After talking with AAFES’s general manager, Haynes was given a 90-day trial period to see if there is an interest in showing these type of movies. If it’s successful she said movies will continue beyond the initial 90 days.
Sensory-friendly movies are also open to off-post non-ID card holders in the surrounding communities.
“The closest (sensory-friendly theaters) are in Lexington and Louisville, which is open less frequently,” Haynes said. “I hope we have enough (attendees) to keep (showing) Disney movies.”
Saturday’s movie will be “Planes,” the Nov. 9 movie will be “Smurfs 2” and in December a Christmas movie will be shown.
According to Haynes, Fort Knox will be the first military installation to offer sensory-friendly movies.
Cost for the movie is $5 for adults, $3 for children and 5 and under are free.
“Kids (with) dietary issues, those on special diets (such as) gluten-free and dairy-free products can bring in items not sold at the concession,” said Haynes.