An autistic 5-year-old boy was forced to miss the end of the new Dumbo film at the cinema after complaints from another audience member.
His mum has rightly spoken of her daily parenting struggle in public, calling for people to be more compassionate towards children with autism.
Vicky Page took her son to see Dumbo at Faversham’s Royal Cinema but felt compelled to leave after just half-an-hour following a confrontation with another member of the audience.
Mrs Page said the experience was “very upsetting” and wants people to understand that her child is not misbehaving. Speaking to Kent Online, she said,
“Noah wasn’t being naughty, he just got extremely excited.
“He finds it quite hard to stand still when he gets excited.
“He couldn’t believe Dumbo could fly but instead of saying things quietly, he shouts things out pretty loud, and he just said “elephant fly superhero” and then started really jumping.
“A woman and her son kept turning and giving us quite filthy looks.
“I ended up apologising and I said ‘I’m really sorry, he has autism’. And the woman said ‘I don’t particularly care’ and that I should keep him at home if he can’t sit still.
“It made me see red and I think in the end Noah saw me tensing up and I had to leave with my children.
“We went through to the foyer,where he ended up having a full blown meltdown and started headbutting the floor.
“It was very upsetting and I ended up getting quite emotional.”
She went on to say that this kind of occurance happens frequently and has just become part of their everyday life.
Mrs Page thanked and praised staff at the cinema for their help and says she hopes in the future the Royal Cinema might be able to hold screenings especially for children with special needs.
She said: “People have been so supportive on social media. There have been special-needs mums coming forward and they want to do this trip to the cinema, getting all the special-needs mums together.
“It would be lovely; the children could run around the cinema and make noises.
“I know people say you should go to autism-friendly screenings but they’re miles away.
“I wanted to get my point across and raise awareness because I found the situation really sad and quite heartless.”
The question this raises is whether cinemas should offer screenings specifically for people with special needs, or should we just be more tolerant and accepting as a society?
Image credit: Kent Online