For many people with special needs, sensory stimuli are overwhelming and sometimes painful. Tina J Richardson, a woman with autism, describes it well when she writes: “Some things just feel so intense. I’m not over-reacting. My sensory processing is unique to me.” This, coupled with the fact that many people with special needs cannot sit still for long periods of time, makes it difficult for them to attend traditional screenings full of loud noises and strobe lights, and where they are not allowed to move around or make noise.
This can make them and their families uncomfortable in public spaces, especially in cultural performances, where any kind of disruption is often met with judging stares. However, the slight changes introduced in sensory-friendly screenings, can transform the theatre into a place as welcoming and comfortable as their own home.