Celebration Cinema schedules showtimes for special needs families

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Beginning April 4, Celebration Cinema will present movie experiences designed especially for individuals and families with special needs, including autism.

During “Sensory Showtimes,” Celebration Cinema will present current movies with modifications intended to lead to a more comfortable and extra-welcoming experience for special needs families.

The volume of the presentation will be lower, auditorium lights will dim but remain on, movies will be shown in two dimensions with open-captioning and begin at show time with limited previews. Cheering, calling out or even strolling around the theater will be  welcomed.

“We’ve worked with Family Hope Foundation and several other terrific community organizations who have helped us recognize the need for this kind of presentation,” said Celebration Cinema’s Emily Loeks. “We’re excited to be expanding the program and making it public.”

“The stress of managing both your child’s disability and how they are received by society is often too great a barrier for parents and they choose to just stay home,” said Lara Kitts of the Family Hope Foundation. “Offering an emotionally safe way to have fun together means so much to our families.”

Sensory Showtimes” are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturdays at select Celebration Cinema locations, including Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids.

“We aim to create space where people connect with each other and experience great stories together,” said Loeks. “We hope that ‘Sensory Showtimes‘ open the door wider for individuals and families with special needs to have that experience.”


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